Win the Completes Series of SERAFINA by Richard Beatty!

We have a Serafina series prize pack to give away to one Riot reader! One (1) winner receives:

  • the complete Serafina series;
  • a cloud light and colorful umbrella;
  • plus custom Serafina and the Splintered Heart earrings!

The third installment in Robert Beatty’s #1 New York Times bestselling middle-grade series hits shelves on July 3rd!

The storms are coming….

Something has happened to Serafina. She has awoken into a darkness she does not understand, scarred from a terrible battle, only to find that life at Biltmore Estate has changed in unimaginable ways. Old friends do unthinkable things and enemies seem all around.

A mysterious threat moves towards Biltmore, a force without a name, bringing with it violent storms and flooding that stands to uproot everything in its path. Serafina must uncover the truth about what has happened to her and find a way to harness her strange new powers before it’s too late.

With only days to achieve the impossible, Serafina fights to reclaim herself as the Guardian of Biltmore, friend of Braeden, daughter of her Pa, and heroine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the folk and creatures that call it home.

In the epic third installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 bestselling series, Serafina takes her rightful place among literary champions as she battles fiercely to defend all she loves and become everything that she is meant to be.

Go here to enter the giveaway, or just click the image of the prize pack below:

Book Radar

Dan Brown’s New Book Gets a Cover, and More Blips on the Book Radar!

Happy holiday weekend! I hope it means you get a chance to read more. There’s lots of great book stuff to learn about today. Enjoy your week! Be excellent to each other. – xoxo, Liberty

Sponsored by The Special Ones by Em Bailey, a HMH Book for Young Readers.

Esther is one of four Special Ones: spiritual guides who live in a remote farmhouse under the protection of a mysterious cult leader. He watches them around the clock—ready to punish them if they forget who they are—while broadcasting their lives to eager followers outside.

Esther knows that if she stops being Special, he will “renew” her. Nobody knows what happens to Special Ones who are taken away for renewal, but Esther fears the worst. Like an actor caught up in an endless play, she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape.

Deals, Reels, and Squeals

my glory wasJ.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot developing Amy Silverstein memoir My Glory Was I Had Such Friends as a limited series.

Jacob Tobia will publish their first memoir, Sissy, with G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

The Crown’s Game author Evelyn Skye will release Circle of Shadows, the first book in a duology, in 2018.

Sissy Spacek and Jane Levy join Stephen King/J.J. Abrams Castle Rock series. And Melanie Lynskey, too!

The first book in Zoraida Córdova’s Spanish-influenced duology will be published in summer 2019!

James Renner’s True Crime Addict is getting a series adaptation, with Richard Price writing.

tales of the cityNetflix developing Tales Of The City revival with Laura Linney & Olympia Dukakis.

Tyler Perry will star in the film adaptation of Patrick McGilligan’s 2007 biography Oscar Micheaux: The Great and Only: The Life of America’s First Black Filmmaker.

Skydance trying Asimov’s Foundation as a TV series.

Cover Reveals

The cover and an excerpt for Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano. (Jan. 2, 2018)

Smart Bitches has the first look at Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. (Feb. 6, 2018)

The cover reveal for Dan Brown’s Origin is a fancy video! (Oct. 3)

Slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo debuts novel, The Poet X. (March 6, 2018)

Behold the covers for Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust.

Sneak Peeks!

The first trailer for Thank You for Your Service, based on the book by David Finkel.

Book Riot Recommends

At Book Riot, I work on the New Books! email, the All the Books! podcast about new releases, and the Book Riot Insiders New Release Index. I am very fortunate to get to read a lot of upcoming titles, and I’m delighted to share a couple with you each week!

karma khullar's mustacheKarma Khullar’s Mustache by Kristi Wientge 

Wientge has taken the subject of body hair and turned it into a delightful Blume-esque tale about a young girl trying to figure out how to deal with the hairs that have formed on her lip just as she’s due to start middle school. Karma thinks her parents are too busy with their own problems, so she must deal with what she feels is going to be a horrifying experience all on her own. It’s a charming and funny story about friendship and family. (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Aug. 15)

manhattan beachManhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Do I even need to say anything else here besides “OMG NEW JENNIFER EGAN NOVEL?” Okay, here’s a tiny bit about it: It’s about a woman who becomes the first female diver, working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard repairing ships. She’s also trying to learn about the disappearance of her father. I don’t think I have to tell you that it’s spectacular, but I’ll say it anyway. It’s spectacular! It is well worth the wait. (Scribner, Oct. 3)

And this is funny.

Author S. Jae-Jones shortened the descriptions of the Hogwarts Houses.

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Jun 30

Happy Friday, nerd-friends and geek-pals! This week we’re looking at supernatural parenting a la The Changeling and The Stars Between Us, maps in fantasy novels, some queer SF/F to close out Pride month, and a few other items that tickled my fancy.

This newsletter is sponsored by Libby.

Libby graphic logoMeet Libby, a new app built with love for readers to discover and enjoy eBooks and audiobooks from your library. Created by OverDrive and inspired by library users, Libby was designed to get people reading as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Libby is a one-tap reading app for your library who is a good friend always ready to go to the library with you. One-tap to borrow, one-tap to read, and one-tap to return to your library or bookshelf to begin your next great book.

For my fellow Ninefox Gambit fans: What’s your Hexarchate faction? It might not be the next Hogwarts House quiz, but I’m pretty satisfied with my results. (Liozh, natch. Team Heresy!)

Are maps in fantasy novels necessary? One of our Book Riot folks doesn’t think so — or at least, not all the time. This is one of those moments where you realize how different every reader is, because Clay uses the maps in novels very differently from me. I tend to look at them to get an overall idea of the geography before I start reading, and to appreciate them as a piece of illustrative art; I don’t think I’ve ever gone back to trace a route.

We talk about LGBTQ+ SF/F pretty regularly here, but I am not one to pass up the opportunity of Pride month to talk about it more! Have a round-up, with remarkably minimal overlap and lots of personal favorites:
–  Queer SF/F favorites from Unbound Worlds
9 Influential LGBTQ SF/F Authors from The Portalist
LGBTQ+ Characters in YA SF/F from the Metropolitan Library
A thoughtful look at writing fantasy from the transgender perspective on Foreword Reviews

Want to support diversity in your favorite genres? There’s a scholarship you can help fund via the The Speculative Literature Foundation. The foundation supports “new and emerging writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups,” and hopes to continue issuing grants over the next five years.

If you’re following the Star Trek: Discovery news, you’ll be delighted to hear that there is finally an air date: September 24. They’ll be showing the premiere on both CBS and CBS All Access, before it switches entirely to All Access. I am still telling myself that I’ll decide after I see the preview if I’m signing up or not, but it’s hard to resist a line-up that includes Michelle Yeoh, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Jason Isaacs.

There have been a recent spate of speculative novels that hinge around fertility and parenthood (with more on the way), and today we’re looking at two of them.

The Space Between The Stars by Anne Corlett

cover of Space Between the Stars by Anne CorlettVeterinarian Jamie Allenby has a quiet life on a remote colony planet called Solitaire, and that’s just the way she likes it. Then a virus sweeps from planet to planet — a virus projected to kill 99% of all humans who catch it. After the shock of survival, all she can think of is getting to the nearest planetary hub of civilization and then back to Earth, to her childhood home. She manages to find a few other survivors and a spaceship captain to get them off Solitaire — and that’s just the beginning of her story.

Procreation is a deeply embedded theme in this space adventure. Jamie ended up on Solitaire in the first place following a miscarriage, and the virus might also affect fertility — which means that not only is the human race decimated, but it might never recover. Corlett holds up a warped mirror to current issues of overpopulation, racism, class, and governance, and the reflection ain’t pretty. For all that, it’s also a remarkably quiet, slow novel; while there are a few action sequences, the novel primarily revolves around the internal life and small but pivotal choices of its characters. Think something like Station Eleven but in space and in one timeline. A deceptively straight-forward read, it will stay with you for longer than you might expect.

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

cover of The Changeling by Victor LaValleBefore I say anything else about this book, let me get it out of the way: I loved it. Now that I’ve declared that, I have to tell you that this is a very hard book to review because of one particular scene, and reviewers seem split on whether to describe it or not. I went into the book knowing absolutely nothing about the plot, which made it incredibly shocking and powerful, but I also believe in being prepared for things that might mess your brain up for the rest of the day (or week, or month…). It’s a conundrum, and a tough one. So I’m splitting the difference. If you want to go in with a clean slate, all you need to know is that this novel is a wickedly effective blend of horror and fantasy, in which a young Black couple discover that parenting is nothing like they thought it would be — and not for the usual reasons. (And you can stop reading this review now, spoilers/warnings hereafter!)

If you’d like details: The Changeling follows Apollo Kagwa, a book dealer trying to make ends meet. We learn just enough about his childhood to understand why being a dad is simultaneously so important and so difficult for him. He falls for a librarian named Emma, they get married and get pregnant, and everything seems to be going well enough — until the day that Emma shackles him to a chair, kills their baby, and then disappears. But that’s just the first third of the book; Apollo soon discovers that nothing is as it seems, and his quest through New York City takes him to places no parent ever wants to go. It’s bloody, it’s terrifying, and not just because of the monsters going bump in the night. Rather, not just because of the supernatural monsters; there are human monsters involved as well.

LaValle has always been good at going to the dark places in the human psyche and lacing in the fantastical. That skill is the reason I pick up each and every book he writes. In this book he’s pulling no punches, and his storytelling is top-notch. If you’re ready to dive into the deep end, pick it up ASAP.

Bonus: If you haven’t read him before, here’s a great piece on where to start.

And that’s a wrap. Happy reading! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the new SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations across the board you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.


A Giveaway Especially for Non-Fiction Lovers….

Nonfiction readers, this giveaway’s for you! We’ve picked 10 exciting new nonfiction books from our book mail to give to one lucky Riot reader.

(If you like nonfiction, or really just books in general, you might also like our new podcast series, Annotated. It’s an audio-documentary series telling stories about books, reading, and language. The first episode, “Is It 1984 Yet?” on George Orwell’s 1984, just launched today and you can listen to it here).

Ok, now go here to enter the nonfiction giveaway, or just click the image of the prize below!


Behind the Scenes Jeff pt 2

Happy end of June, folks! Today we’ve got Jeff talking about his latest big project. But first, our regularly scheduled housekeeping:

– There’s now a Lit Fic chat for the Insiders Forum! Check out the updated schedule here.

– We’ve pushed out an update to the New Release Index, aimed at making all the bells and whistles (the month selector, the Watchlist ribbon, etc.) work better, smoother, faster. Give it a whirl and let us know how we did!

– Congrats to our Epic mailbag winner of this month, Nicole H.! We’ll let you know the Novel-level winner next round; make sure to keep your New Release Index updated each month to be entered.

I remember the day I became a podcast fan. It was seven years ago, and I was re-painting a bedroom for our yet-to-be-born son. And I hate painting, so in effort to make the day more palatable, I downloaded a bunch of episodes of this radio show that my friend had recommended, This American Life.

I wouldn’t say I was head-over-heels, but I enjoyed the 10 episodes I listened to that day and was interested to see what else was out there. I ran through the now-usual suspects next: RadioLab, Planet Money, etc. I also finally pulled the trigger on listening to some of the talk show-format podcasts that writers I liked were doing (Bill Simmons, John Gruber). And that was it. Podcasts became a part of my everyday life.

It was a few years later after Book Riot had been around awhile that I heard a show called The Frequency on Dan Benjamin’s 5by5 podcast network, which hosted and still hosts the podcast that has meant more to me than almost any other, Back to Work with Benjamin and Merlin Mann.

The Frequency is a weekly rundown of interesting stories from the world of technology. It’s informal, zany, and geeky. And I realized that I wanted to do a show like that, but for books. So Rebecca and I got some USB mics, convinced my brother Kyle to edit the shows for us, and as of today we are 215 episodes into the Book Riot podcast. And then came All the Books, Reading Lives (RIP), Dear Book Nerd (RIP), Get Booked, Read or Dead, and SFF Yeah!

The connection we made with the Book Riot audience through podcasts has been the biggest surprise in this whole BR experiment. Our podcast listeners are the most engaged, vocal, and frankly valuable part of our audience. It’s impossible now to imagine doing what we do without these shows, both in terms of the revenue the advertising brings in, and how much the connection with people matters and keeps us going.

But I kept thinking about how I got into podcasts in the first place. The audio-documentary format that uses the medium of personal audio to create a strange intimacy between the subjects, hosts, and listeners. What would it take to do something like that with books? It’s been on my mind for years.

And so this week sees the premiere of episode #1 of Annotated. It’s a short-form documentary podcast series about books, reading, and language. This first episode, “Is it 1984 yet?,” is about the resurgence of interest in George Orwell’s 1984 and the story of how 1984 came to be.

There will be five more episodes in this first season, with a new episode coming out every two weeks through the first week in September. It’s been a dream of mine to try and it’s been tough, and nerve-wracking, and exciting. We’ve got some great stories coming out, so I hope you will give it a chance. I’d love to hear what people think–we’re learning as we go and want to get better and tell more interesting, fun, and thought-provoking stories (email me at

My great friend and writer Jeremy Desmon agreed to help with with structuring the stories and figuring out if my nerdy story ideas were decent (most weren’t), and my brother Kyle continues to be up for anything we throw at him. The folks at Hachette took a flyer on being the exclusive sponsor of this limited run show, and I am really humbled that they agreed with nothing more than a Google doc to go on.

Toni Morrison said you’ve got to write the book you want to see in the world, so this is the podcast version of that for me. I am not sure if it will work or be sustainable as part of the business, but I couldn’t not try.

I’ve remembered in the course of this that there are so many amazing stories out there about these books we love, the authors who have written them, and the librarians and editors and booksellers and teachers and advocates for reading who have been out there making the reading world as we know it. We hope to do them justice.

If you like the show, do pass it along to other who might like it. And if you have an extra moment to rate and review it, especially on Apple Podcasts, that goes along way toward finding a large enough audience to support more shows.

Happy listening,


062917 – Annotated Launch PR

News Release
June 29, 2017
Contact: Jeff O’Neal


Telling stories about books, reading, and language, the first season presented by Hachette Book Group kicks off today with “Is it 1984 yet?”

Image: Annotated logo

(Brooklyn, NY) – Annotated, a podcast telling stories about books, reading, and language became available for download today. “Is it 1984 yet?” will kick off the six-episode season, telling the backstory of George Orwell’s 1984, with future episodes touching on indie bookselling, the world’s most glamorous librarian, and the court case that changed the way the First Amendment was applied to literature. Jeff O’Neal and Rebecca Joines Schinsky host the podcast with episodes written by award-winning musical theatre bookwriter and lyricist Jeremy Desmon. Sound editing and design is by Kyle O’Neal.

“This podcast is different from the news, recommendations, and genre podcasts Book Riot produces,” said Book Riot Executive Editor Jeff O’Neal. “These episodes are short audio documentaries about the richness of books that readers of all stripes can appreciate.”

The first episode, “Is it 1984 yet?” traces the recent rise of the not-new 1984 to the number one spot on Amazon’s best-selling books list. Jeff and Rebecca explore the backstory of 1984, from how it became stock high school reading to its CIA-supported appearance on the silver screen, to how, seemingly, a January 22nd news interview thrust it back into our collective consciousness as the example of a political nightmare.

Listeners may subscribe to Annotated for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or via RSS through their podcatcher of choice. The first episode releases today, June 29, with future episodes releasing every two weeks on Thursday.

Annotated is presented by Hachette Book Group.

About Riot New Media Group, Inc:
Riot New Media Group, founded in 2011, creates communities dedicated to the idea that content around fandoms should be just as diverse as the fans are. So sometimes we are serious and sometimes we’re silly. Some of our contributors are pros. Many of them aren’t. We like a good list just as much as we like a good review, and we believe that there are smart, funny, and informative things to say about both. RNMG reaches 11MM monthly unique visitors through Book Riot, Book Riot Comics, and the Riot Ad Network.

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On Twitter: @BookRiot
On Instagram: @BookRiot
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— 30 —

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Epic Reads.

From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a masterful exploration of how love, determination, and hope can change a person’s fate. MIDNIGHT AT THE ELECTRIC is a novel told in three unforgettable points of view from three girls in three different moments in time. While their stories span thousands of miles and multiple generations, Adri, Catherine, and Lenore’s fates are entwined with love and connected by the hope that we can live on, even though we can’t live forever.

The Stack


Join your fellow book nerds at Book Riot Insiders and get a sweet store deal, exclusive content, the magical New Releases Index, and more!


Annotated Promo to Events Newsletter

We’re delighted to announce the launch of our newest podcast, Annotated, coming to your ears as of today! Presented by Hachette Book Group, Annotated is an audio documentary series about books, reading, and language. We’re kicking things off with a deep dive into George Orwell’s 1984: how it became stock high school reading, its CIA-supported appearance on the silver screen, its current resurgence, and more. Check it out at or search for Annotated in Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or your podcatcher of choice.


Star Spangled Audiobooks

Hello again, audiobook lovers, how was your week?

In the newsletter last week, I fangirled pretty hard over Titus Welliver and his narration of the later Harry Bosch audiobooks. Bear with me, cuz I have more (but different!) fangirling to do now: this weekend, I listened to all of Maile Meloy’s new book, Do Not Become Alarmed, in a single day.

Sponsored by Overdrive

Meet Libby, a new app built with love for readers to discover and enjoy eBooks and audiobooks from your library. Created by OverDrive and inspired by library users, Libby was designed to get people reading as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Libby is a one-tap reading app for your library who is a good friend always ready to go to the library with you. One-tap to borrow, one-tap to read, and one-tap to return to your library or bookshelf to begin your next great book.

The first time I heard Meloy read something was in the New Yorker Fiction podcast when she read the story “Mr. Parker” by Laurie Colwin. “Mr. Parker” is one of my all-time favorite short stories; it’s about a girl on the brink of teenagehood, in that last moment of innocence before she is launched into womanhood and all the perils that come with it. Meloy’s voice is perfect for the story–-soft, but strong and clear with the self-awareness that begins to creep into the young girl’s consciousness. I highly recommend listening to it, which you can do here.  

So, I was thrilled to learn that Meloy reads the audio of Do Not Become Alarmed and, once again, her voice is perfect for the subject. It’s the story of two families who take a cruise together and on a land excursion, the children go missing. So much of the novel is about the tension between ignorance and awareness, between attitudes of those with privilege and those without. I listened to the whole book in a day; I lost of doing work but couldn’t stop without knowing how things turned out.

Star Spangled Audiobooks

One of the *few* silver linings I can see in the Trump presidency and the chaos around it is an increased conversation around how government works. Our president often seems unclear about how the three branches of government work or what the Constitution says and as a result, those issues have been discussed more widely than they have in the past. Remember that moment at the Democratic National Committee convention when gold-star father Khizr Khan offered to lend Trump a copy of his pocket Constitution? Something tells me the Trump never took him up on the offer.

Fortunately for all of us, Penguin Random House has teamed up with PEN America and the National Coalition Against Censorship to bring us free streaming audio recordings of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Narrated by Frank Langella and Boyd Gaines, these recordings will be available through the end of July. If you wanna let others know you’re brushing up on your founding documents and see what others have to say, folks will be using the #wethepeoplelisten hashtag to share their thoughts. Listen at

If you are a politics nerd like I am, you may also enjoy one of the most nerdtastic items I have ever purchased. May it Please the Court is a print book but it comes with an audio CD. The book contains the transcripts from the most seminal supreme court cases between 1955 and 2007; the audio CD has the actual recordings of those arguments. From the publisher, “May It Please the Court includes both live recordings and transcripts of oral arguments in twenty-three of the most significant cases argued before the Supreme Court in the second half of the twentieth century…through the voices of some of the nation’s most important lawyers and justices, including Thurgood Marshall, Archibald Cox, and Earl Warren, it offers a chance to hear firsthand our justice system at work, in the highest court of the land.”

Take a look at some of the cases included: Gideon v. Wainwright (right to counsel) Abington School District v. Schempp (school prayer) Miranda v. Arizona (“the right to remain silent”) Roe v. Wade (abortion rights) Edwards v. Aguillard (teaching “creationism”) Regents v. Bakke (reverse discrimination) Wisconsin v. Yoder (compulsory schooling for the Amish) Tinker v. Des Moines (Vietnam protest in schools) Texas v. Johnson (flag burning) New York Times v. United States (Pentagon Papers) Cox v. Louisiana (civil rights demonstrations) Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board (freedom of association) Terry v. Ohio (“stop and frisk” by police) Gregg v. Georgia (capital punishment) Cooper v. Aaron (Little Rock school desegregation) Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (public accommodations) Palmer v. Thompson (swimming pool integration) Loving v. Virginia (interracial marriage) San Antonio v. Rodriguez (equal funding for public schools) Bowers v. Hardwick (homosexual rights) Baker v. Carr (“one person, one vote”) United States v. Nixon (Watergate tapes) DeShaney v. Winnebago County (child abuse).

New Releases

(publisher description in quotes)

Hope and a Future: The Story of Syrian Refugees by John M. B. Balouziyeh

This is the first I have heard of the Refugee Rights series but count me in.

“This book tracks the author’s travels to Syrian refugee camps and informal tented settlements in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Relying on his legal background, he offers an unfiltered account of the plight of Syrian refugees from a legal, political, and humanitarian perspective.

Yet this book is more than just an account of the lives of Syrian refugees; it answers that burning question on so many people’s minds: how can I help? In discussing corporate partnerships with aid organizations, civil society initiatives, humanitarian missions, volunteering and fundraising, the author shows that there is a role anyone can play in making a lasting, positive impact on Syrian refugees and restoring dignity to their lives.”

The Lost Girl by Carol Drinkwater

“Lizzie, the only daughter of celebrated war photographer Kurtiz Ross, went missing four years ago. Kurtiz and her ex-husband, Oliver, arrive in Paris following an unconfirmed sighting of their daughter.

Oliver rushes to find her while Kurtiz waits, praying for a reunion. As sirens wail, Kurtiz finds comfort in Marguerite Courtenay – a glamorous former actress. As Marguerite distracts Kurtiz with stories of her life in postwar Provence, Kurtiz must confront her own ghosts and face up to home truths.”

Use of Force by Brad Thor

“As a storm rages across the Mediterranean Sea, a terrifying distress call is made to the Italian Coast Guard. Days later, a body washes ashore.

Identified as a high-value terrorism suspect (who had disappeared three years prior), his name sends panic through the Central Intelligence Agency. Where was he headed? What was he planning? And could he be connected to the “spectacular attack” they have been fearing all summer?

In a race against time, the CIA taps an unorthodox source to get answers: Navy SEAL turned covert counterterrorism operative, Scot Harvath. Hired on a black contract, Harvath will provide the deniability the United States needs while he breaks every rule along the way.”

Links for Your Ears

5 Audiobook Narrators Who Are Sure To Have You Falling in Love With the Format –Book Riot

How One Man Overcame Blindness and Started an Audiobook Show for New Scifi and Fantasy –Gizmodo

Samuel West to narrate new Inspector Morse audio series –The Bookseller

City seeking first poet laureate –Winnipeg Free Press

These Are The Most Popular eBooks And Audiobooks Of Summer 2017, According To Scribd –Bustle

Dear Match Book: What Audiobooks Will Liven Up My Summer Road Trips? –New York Times

Now Is a Good Time to Listen to Prodigy Tell His Life Story –SPIN

Disability Advocates Celebrate the End of Australia’s ‘Book Famine’ –Pro Bono Australia

Until next time,