Mary Sue Book Club, May 2022

Three books featured in The Mary Sue May 2022 Bookclub.  Images: Atria Books, Tordotcom and Orbit.

I know the saying is “April showers bring May flowers”. However, May always seems to come with a lot of water, as many of the most interesting books coming out this month feature aqua covers – covers hardly being a strong thematic thread (in this case), it’s also the first time in months The Mary Sue Book Club presents such a complex mix of stories.

This month’s mix includes a graphic memoir, two very different romances, gothic historical fiction (perfect for fans of Daphne du Maurier), and the complexities of life as an Americanized girl forced to return to South Korea. A novel about immortality in pre-Hays code Hollywood for a Chinese-American actress, and the first novel in an epic fantasy trilogy based on stories from Thousand and one Night.

Tell us which of these articles you are most looking forward to reading!

Kisses For Jet by Joris Bas Baker (Image: Nobrow)
(Nobrow)

1999, when most people think the world is about to end with the crash of the year 2000 on the eve of the new millennium, Jet is just trying to finish high school. When their mother moves to another country to work on solving the Millennium Bug, Jet is forced to stay in a boarding house while they finish the school year, and they aren’t thrilled about it.

But something is wrong, and it’s not just the out-of-control kids Jet has to live with, or the boarding staff who are acting very suspiciously. As Jet slowly begins to feel overwhelmed by her peers, she begins to notice that she doesn’t feel like the other girls in her class. As new feelings begin to emerge, Jet slowly begins to realize that he may be more of a boy than a girl.

Is it possible? And who do they talk to about these feelings when there’s not even internet and cell phones are barely used?

KFor Jet released on May 3.

The Hacienda by Isabel Canas (Image: Berkley Books)
(Berkley Books)

When the Mexican government was overthrown, Beatriz’s father was executed and his house destroyed. When the handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz shrugs off the rumors surrounding the sudden death of his first wife, choosing instead to embrace the security that his country estate provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.

But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.

When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of the invisible eyes follows her with every movement. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, laughs at Beatriz’s fears, but why does she refuse to come into the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark the door with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano? Beatriz only knows two things for sure: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will save her.

Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. Not a priest like the others, Andrés will have to rely on his sorcerer’s talents to fight the malevolent presence that haunts the hacienda and protect the woman for whom he feels a powerful and forbidden attraction. But even he may not be enough to fight the darkness. Far from a refuge, San Isidro could be Beatriz’s undoing.

The Hacienda released on May 3.

The Chef's Kiss by TJ Alexander (Atria Books)
(Atria Books)

Simone Larkspur is a perfectionist baking expert with a dream job at The Discerning Chef, a venerable cookbook publisher in New York City. All she wants to do is create the perfect sourdough bread and develop recipes, but when The Discerning Chef decides to bring her brand into the 21st century by going video, Simone is thrown into the spotlight. and finds himself failing at something for the first time. time in his life.

To make matters worse, Simone has to deal with Ray Lyton, the new manager of the test kitchen, whose obnoxious cheerfulness and outgoing personality are like oil in Simone’s water. When Ray accidentally becomes a viral YouTube sensation with a series of homebrewing videos, their eccentric editor forces Simone to work alongside the upstart chipper or risk her beloved job. But the more they work together, the more Simone realizes that her heart softens like butter for Ray.

Things get even more complicated when Ray shows up at work as non-binary to mixed reactions – and Simone must choose between the career she fought so hard for and the person who just might take the cake (and her heart).

Chef’s kiss released on May 3.

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo (Tordotcom)
(Tordotcom)

It was magical. In all worlds, it was a kind of magic.

“No maids, no funny chatter, no fading flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in Hollywood before Code, she knows how dangerous cinema is and how limited roles are for a Chinese-American girl from the Hungarian hills, but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.

But in Luli’s world, Hollywood’s worst monsters aren’t the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything, from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they operate on a system of deals made in blood and ancient magic, fueled by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. . For those who survive to earn their fame, success comes at a high price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means becoming the monster herself.

mermaid queen offers a thrilling exploration of an outsider who rises to fame on her own terms, in a fantasy Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the big screen lights up every page.

mermaid queen released on May 10.

Chelsea Abdullah's Stardust Thief (Image: Orbit)
(Orbit)

Neither here nor there, but a long time ago. . .

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she attracts the attention of her powerful father, the Sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land, at the cost of the sacrifice of all the jinns.

Left with no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie travels with the Sultan’s eldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of her own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outsmart a vengeful djinn queen, and confront a malevolent killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where history is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything – her enemy, her magic, even her own past – is not what it seems, and she must decide. who she will become in this new reality.

The Stardust Thief released on May 17.

Guess I Live Here Now by Claire Ahn (Image: Viking Books for Young Readers)
(Viking books for young readers)

Melody has always wanted to get to know the Korean side of her Korean American heritage better, but not quite like that. Thanks to a toddler transgression after school, one day she is shocked to discover that her parents have decided to take her and her mother out of New York to join her father in Seoul, immediately! Barely given the chance to say goodbye to her best friend before boarding the plane, Melody is resentful, angry and homesick.

But she soon finds herself settling into their super luxurious house, meeting cool friends at school, and experiencing the alluring aspects of life in Korea – trendy fashion, delicious food, her dad’s black card and a boy cute to hang out with. Life in Seoul is amazing…until cracks start to form on its shiny surface. Troubling family secrets, broken friendships and lost passion are the prices Melody must pay for her new life, but is it worth it?

Claire Ahn’s charming debut lets you taste every bite of kalbi, bathe in Seoul’s neon glow, and feel every high and low of Melody’s journey across the world and into her heart.

I guess I live here now released on May 24.

You made a fool of death with your beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

You made a fool of death with your beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (Image: Atria Books)
(Atria Books)

Feyi Adekola wants to relearn how to live.

It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now – an artist with her own studio and sharing a brownstone apartment with her best friend, Joy, who insists on the makes it time for Feyi to get back into the dating scene.

Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party turns into a whirlwind summer she could never have imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef and a great curator who wants to launch her artistic career.

She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before she has a chance by the overwhelming desire Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the only person in the house. who is definitely forbidden: his father.

This new life she asked for has become much more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all: how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?

You made a fool of death with your beauty released on May 24.

(featured image: Atria Books, Tordotcom and Orbit)

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