I’m not sure if it’s just me, or if May seems to be a great month for books this year? I realize the last few years I’ve been in grad school and haven’t done as much pleasure reading as I like to do, and that late summer is traditionally a good time for beachy blockbusters to be released. Still, it seems like May is chock full of books I’ve been dying to get my hands on!

Blackout, by Mira Grant: The first two books in the Newsflesh trilogy (Feed and Deadline) got 4-star Goodreads reviews from me. I’ve read them two or three times since I got them last summer, and I thought they were fast-paced and character-driven nail biters. Certainly many of the characters make poor decisions, and I know some friends who haven’t enjoyed the series as much, but I think they’re wrong. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy from Amazon.

Bitterblue, by Kristin Cashore: Another loose trilogy whose first two sections got four-star reviews, the Graceling books are mature YA fantasy novels. Not mature in the sense of “adult content”, necessarily, though I think Cashore does a great job of addressing sex and sexuality. But mature in the sense of addressing real issues people face head-on, treating the readers like adults. I think I liked Graceling a little better than Fire, but I’m really excited to read Bitterblue.

Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel: I tore through the first book in this projected trilogy on the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell. I was home for Christmas vacation when my mom got the first book, Wolf Hall, as a Christmas present, and she generously let me borrow it to read before I returned to DC. I basically couldn’t put it down or pay attention to anything else. It’s the best kind of historical fiction, blending facts and period details to create a really rich background for extremely compelling and well-realized characters. A coworker and I have been anxiously tracking the progress of this book through our cataloging process; it may come to blows when the book is available.

Deadlocked, by Charlaine Harris: I don’t often read series with 10+ installations, or at least I tend not to stick with those series that long. For some reason, I still want to read these books. Partially to know what happens, partially for their trashy escapist fun, partially because I thinks the book are improving (after a dip a few books ago). I believe the series is winding down, so extraneous plots are being wrapped up, and Harris’ writing has gotten stronger and her characters more complex as the series progresses.

What else am I reading? I finally picked up the new Charles Mann book, 1493, the follow-up to his unexpectedly page-turning 1491, a history of life in the Americas before Columbus. I also grabbed The Cellist of Sarajevo, which was recently announced as the 2012 One Maryland, One Book read. I hadn’t heard of it before the announcement, but I’m really interested to read it. I’m spending some time on audiobooks this month, between various road trips I’m taking, and am looking forward to listening to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One as read by Wil Wheaton.

ETA: And there are some exciting books coming out in early summer as well, including the new Kate Summerscale (genius of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher fame) and the new Deborah Harkness (I didn’t love the first book, frankly, but she’s a Mount Holyoke alumna so I will read the series anyway).

You can always find me on Goodreads to see more! What are you excited to read this summer?