New Books

First Tuesday in August New Books Megalist!

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! It’s the first Tuesday of the month, which means there are a bunch of new titles out today. I’ve got a big list for you below, and you can hear about a few of these books on this week’s episode of the All the Books! Rebecca and I talked about amazing books we loved, such as See What I Have Done, Mrs. Fletcher, and Sour Heart.

And like last time, I’m putting a ❤️ next to the books that I have read and loved. There are soooo many more I can’t wait to read!

Sponsored by Elizabeth Singer Hunt, author of THE SECRET AGENT JACK AND MAX STALWART series, published by Weinstein Books. A member of Hachette Book Group.

For fans of the award-winning SECRET AGENT JACK STALWART comes a new chapter book series! Jack teams up with his older brother, Max, to solve international mysteries, using their special training as secret agents.

In THE BATTLE FOR THE EMERALD BUDDHA, Jack is temporarily retired from the Global Protection Force and on family vacation. However, Jack and Max are motivated to act when a band of thieves takes the Emerald Buddha from the Grand Palace in Bangkok. On their own, up against one of the smartest and wealthiest villains they’ve ever faced, can the brothers find Thailand’s treasure in time?

impossible views of the worldImpossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives ❤️

Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor

Good Stock Strange Blood by Dawn Lundy Martin

Motherest by Kristen Iskandrian ❤️

What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen by Kate Fagan

The Address by Fiona Davis

Kings of Broken Things by Theodore Wheeler

See What I Have Done by Sarah SchmidtSee What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt ❤️

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan (Author), Annie Tucker (Translator)

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka ❤️

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose

The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet (Author), Sam Taylor (Translator) ❤️

The Lauras by Sara Taylor ❤️

Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis

Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak GurnahGravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah

Of Jenny and the Aliens by Ryan Gebhart

Class Mom: A Novel by Laurie Gelman

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perotta

A Nest of Vipers (Inspector Montalbano) by Andrea Camilleri  (Author), Stephen Sartarelli (Translator)

The Unorthodox Dr. Draper and Other Stories by William Browning Spencer

The Process (is a Process All Its Own) by Peter Straub

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson ❤️

The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal ❤️

The Best of Subterranean by William Schafer

The Hole by Hye-young Pyun (Author), Sora Kim-Russell (Translator)

The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder by Carolyn Murnick ❤️

Morningstar: Growing Up With Books by Ann Hood

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh ❤️

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand HessSolo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

Hex-Rated: A Brimstone Files Novel by Jason Ridler

Age of Assassins by RJ Baker

Leona: The Die Is Cast by Jenny Rogneby

Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham

Beast by Paul Kingsnorth ❤️

A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon

Children of the Divide by Patrick Tomlinson

The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy ❤️

Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults by Laurie Penny

Sour Heart: Stories by Jenny Zhang

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley ❤️

All Things New by Lauren Miller

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Other Essays by Paul Kingsnorth

Brave Deeds by David Abrams ❤️

Shadow of the Lions by Christopher Swann ❤️

Safe by Ryan Gattis ❤️

New People by Danzy Senna New People by Danzy Senna ❤️

Monster Hunter Siege by Larry Correia

The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays by Megan Stielstra

A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon

The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc ❤️

That’s it for me today – time to get back to reading! If you want to learn more about books new and old (and see lots of pictures of my cats, Millay and Steinbeck), or tell me about books you’re reading, or books you think I should read (I HEART RECOMMENDATIONS!), you can find me on Twitter at MissLiberty, on Instagram at FranzenComesAlive, or Litsy under ‘Liberty’!

Stay rad,


Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Keeping the Beat by Marie Powell and Jeff Norton from KCP Loft.

Fame. Love. Friends. Pick any two.
It was supposed to be the best summer of her life. Instead, seventeen-year-old Lucy finds her best friend, Harper, shot dead in an LA swimming pool. How did things go so wrong? Their band, Crush, was once the top prospect to win an international talent contest. But things fell apart when Lucy discovered Harper’s real reasons for starting a band — which had nothing to do with music. Now, her other bandmates are throwing themselves into sex, drugs and rock and roll. Can Lucy get the rest of the girls to play to her beat?

This Week In Books

40 Books to Read Before You’re 40: This Week in Books

Time May Change Me, But I’ll Read More Books

Penguin Random House compiled a list of 40 books to read before you turn 40, and all I’ve been hearing lately is the susurration of falling sand. The books include nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, and their inclusion means that the book is a worthy champion when you’re looking for help navigating career, family, or loss. They also kindly threw in a few essential classics that I will likely request be entombed with my cold, quiet body in case I have an opportunity to shred my TBR. The list includes A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Can we pepper this list with some books about refusing to grow up?

Riffle Through da Vinci’s Stuff From The Comfort Of Your Couch

Study the mind of a master courtesy of the digitized notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Thanks to the British Library and Microsoft, you even get an interactive feature that allows you to turn the pages of the notebooks with animations. And with glosses available onscreen, readers are privvy to explanations of the dainty notes scratched around the technical drawings, diagrams, and schematics. Once upon a time (not very long ago), few people had access to the Codex Arundel. Who knows? It might inspire someone to invent the next great bookish device.

Help Save Jane Austen’s Great House

Chawton House, which houses Jane Austen manuscripts and a library of early women writers, has begun fundraising to become a major historic literary landmark. In the 90s, the Great House was restored and reopened as a home for early women’s literature, but the foundation that had provided much of the financial support to keep it open is focusing on other projects. The folks behind the fundraising effort sound optimistic and excited about turning the house into a literary destination, which is heartening. If they’re looking for a volunteer to house-sit and host massive, themed tea parties: right here.

How To Make White People Uncomfortable By Seattle Seahawks Star

Seattle Seahawks football player Michael Bennet is going to publish a memoir titled How to Make White People Uncomfortable next year. Bennett is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and social justice issues. Co-writer Dave Zirin said the book will cover “the NFL, racism, sexism, intersectionality and athletes being no longer silenced.” This is not going to be one of those quietly published numbers.

Thanks to Penguin Books, publisher of The Dying Game by Asa Avdic, for sponsoring this week’s newsletter.

The year is 2037. The Soviet Union never fell, and much of Europe has been consolidated under the totalitarian Union of Friendship. On the tiny island of Isola, seven people have been selected to compete in a forty-eight-hour test for a top-secret intelligence position. THE DYING GAME is a masterly locked-room mystery set in a near-future Orwellian state—for fans of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Dave Eggers’ The Circle, and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.



We have 10 copies of Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan’s renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with “a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist” is in freefall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Pulsing with neurotic humor and dagger-sharp prose, Impossible Views of the World is a dazzling debut novel about how to make it through your early thirties with your brain and heart intact.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below. Good luck!

Book Radar

New George R. R. Martin Books Are On Their Way!

Happy Monday! I’m here again to share exciting news about books and comics. Enjoy your week! Be excellent to each other. – xoxo, Liberty PS – How is it already almost August?!?

Sponsored by Book Riot Insiders

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


to all the boysLana Condor to star in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, based on Jenny Han’s novel.

Saladin Ahmed and Elizabeth Wein are writing Star Wars books!

Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks sold his book Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.

George R. R. Martin has announced two more books. But they’re not what you think they would be.

And speaking of GRRM, Neil deGrasse Tyson has recruited him to help work on a video game!

Wonder Woman 2 is set to release Christmas of 2019!

one day she'll darkenAnd speaking of Wonder Woman, director Patty Jenkins and star Chris Pine will re-team on the new TNT drama series One Day She’ll Darken, inspired by the autobiography of Fauna Hodel.

Mystery writers Louise Penny and Lisa Jewell closed new deals with their U.S. publishers.


Leesa Cross-Smith revealed the cover for Whiskey and Ribbons! (March 8, 2018)

See the cover reveal for Given to the Earth by Mindy McGiness! (April 10, 2018)

Happily Ever After has the exclusive first peek at The Radical Element anthology.


my friend dahmerHang on tight: Ready Player One has a trailer!

My Friend Dahmer trailer, for the film adaptation of the Derf Backderf graphic novel.

HBO shared the first image from FAHRENHEIT 451, starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon.


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!

a line in the darkA Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo (Oct. 17, 2017, Dutton Books for Young Readers): When Jess Wong’s best friend, Angie, comes out to her, she doesn’t realize Jess has more than friend feelings for her. But it’s too late for Jess to do anything: Angie is already falling for Margot Adams, a girl at a nearby school. Just as Jess is coming to terms with being permanently friend zoned, Margot’s best friend disappears, and Jess and Angie are pulled into a tangled web of secrets and lies. This one is super twisty and super fun. And HOLY CATS, THAT COVER!

the rules of magicThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (Oct. 10, 2017): In case you hadn’t heard: there is a sequel to Practical Magic! Well, it’s more of a prequel, following the witchy Owens aunts as they grow up in the early 1960s. But still. It exists, two decades after the first book. And it’s GOOD! You don’t have to have read Practical Magic to follow the plot of this one, but you should! And if you’ve already read it, isn’t it time for a reread? Treat yourself to a little magic.


This textbook cover looks familiar…


Behind The Scenes: Little Red Wagon

Happy end of July, folks. Congratulations go to Amy and Joan, our respective monthly Novel and Epic mailbag winners! And without further ado, here’s a look at the development of a new product courtesy of Rebecca.

I’m writing to y’all today from a lake house in the middle of Virginia, where my husband, my parents, and my sister and her family are celebrating my parents’ recent retirement. I’m working half-days, checking email and setting up sales in the Book Riot Store and taking conference calls in between rounds of floating in the lake and tubing with my nephew. (If you’ve never had the pleasure of accompanying a six-year-old on his first tubing excursion, I can’t recommend it enough. Very high on the delight factor.) It’s the kind of integration of work and “real life” that a job like this affords, and it’s one of the benefits I think people have in mind when they tell me they envy my job. I can’t complain; it is pretty great.

But the gig isn’t all fancy working vacations and glamour (LOL forever at the idea of that). In fact — as with many jobs, I’m sure — a lot of what goes on behind the scenes to make the site and all the things you think of as Book Riot involve a jillion moving parts and sometimes-annoying tasks, and doing it from home adds a whole ‘nother layer of adventure. The Pigeon pilot we’re running right now is a perfect example.

Like many Book Riot projects, this one was born on a phone call. “This might be Bad Idea Committee,” I said to Jeff, “but I’ve been having shower thoughts about a personalized book rec service, and I kiiiiiiinda think we should try it out this summer.” We kicked it around a bit and decided it wasn’t obviously Bad Idea Committee, so we made a few lists and picked out some dates, and a pilot program was born. We can get book pricing and shipping info and packaging costs pretty easily, so the big question we’re trying to answer with the test is: how much time does it take to generate the recommendations for Pigeon participants? And if we developed it into a formal program, could we charge enough for the service to justify the expense without making it too pricy? Basically, there’s a sweet spot somewhere, and we’re trying to figure out if we can build a house there.

As we say around the Riot office, this pilot is my little red wagon to pull, so I knew that volunteering to run it myself meant that I’d be turning my house into a temporary book warehouse and shipping center. After all, how much space could a hundred books and some boxes possibly take up? So we put out the call for willing Insiders, randomly selected the participants, sent out the surveys, and then divvied up the responses. Jenn and I set to work reading participants’ forms, picking out books, and writing notes to accompany them, all the while noting our every move with time tracking software.

On the fly, we decided how many times we were allowed to recommend the same title (three, based on the Get Booked rule), what to do with requests for YA (limit to one book in order to keep the value proposition of the box high), and what date to set as a cutoff for new titles to be included. We worked through the frustration of reallllllly wanting to recommend a certain book for a participant, but the book was in hardcover and they ordered paperbacks (or vice-versa), double-checked our lists, and called it done. So off I went to order three books each for 34 people. I knew on some level that a hundred-ish books is a lot of books, but I looked around the stacks in my office and shrugged it off.

And then my mailman delivered the first round.

a tower of boxes piled on Rebecca's front step

I printed out the master list of books and got to sorting, matching each person’s books into a pile labeled with their names on the floor of my office. Spoiler: thirty small stacks of books take up…a lot of space. And speaking of glamour, I share my office with my husband’s closet system. (The chair is from IKEA, I know you’re wondering.)

small stacks of books all over Rebecca's hardwood floor

When I got totally surrounded by stacks of books, my canine assistant — Millie, the 11-year-old basset hound — came to visit, sniffed a couple piles, then plopped down for a nap right between me and the door. Regular quality assurance checks are critical to success.

With the books in my office, it was time to get the boxes set up. The simple brown boxes I ordered came flat, so first I had to assemble them, and then find somewhere to put them. Enter the dining room table. I printed out the book rec letters, hand wrote note cards and address labels, and established my shipping center. And yes, I can tell you exactly how long it takes me to assemble, pack, label, and note-card the average box.

a large dining room table covered in cardboard boxes, mailing lablels, and bubble wrap

First round complete (I decided to do these in three rounds in order to give myself an opportunity to refine the process), I recruited my husband to help me load the boxes into my SUV, folded up the portable hand truck I’ve been holding onto from a previous job, and headed to the post office, where I prayed to every deity I could think of that I wouldn’t ruin someone’s day and/or get laughed out of line. And then I sent the first group (flock? colony?) of Pigeons out into the world!

Back in the office, the basset hound trampled a few of the recommendation letters for the second round, necessitating a reprint. One book showed up damaged. Two more showed up in paperback when I was expecting hardcover. And my internet went out for the entire last day before this vacation! Like the mythical work-life balance or the idea of actually relaxing on a family vacation, no new project is ever perfect, or perfectly what you expect it to be. This time around, there are questions and answers and new questions with no answers yet, and for me, there’s so much fun in the process. For you, well, there might be a few stray dog hairs in with your next delivery of reading material.



Win a Copy of THE DUCHESS DEAL by Tessa Dare!

We have 10 galleys for Tessa Dare’s The Duchess Deal to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury has continued to seek justice, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. But now he is needs an heir – and a wife to produce one. When seamstress Emma Gladstone appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides immediately that she’ll do. His terms are simple: they will be husband and wife by night only, and once she’s pregnant with his heir, they never need share a bed again. But Emma is no pushover, and once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below. Good luck!

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Jul 28

Happy Friday, friends. We made it through another week; let us give thanks and be merry! Today we’re talking about The Water Knife and the Graceling Realm series, plus awards news, GRRM, a slew of TV adaptations, and more.

cover of Genius The GameThis newsletter is sponsored by Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout.

Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.
In Genius: The Game, an action-packed novel by Leopoldo Gout, three brilliant teens from around the world use their knowledge of hacking, engineering, espionage, and activism in a race to save the world.

The World Fantasy Awards nominees have been announced! Borderline and Obelisk Gate continue to make the awards rounds, A Taste of Honey is up for Long Fiction (by which I believe they mean novellas), The Paper Menagerie is up for Collection, and I am just delighted.

Speaking of awards, for those of you who want to catch up with nominees here are 100 shortlisted genre titles, ranging from YA to mystery to speculative fiction. I’ve read 38 of the 100 — not too shabby. So many more to go…

One more in award news: Underground Railroad has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award!

Westeros is coming. But not The Winds of Winter, at least not for a while yet. George R.R. Martin announced that there’s likely to be a Westeros book in 2018, part of his very own GRRMarillion (LOL).

There’s lots of TV adaptation news (thanks, SDCC!):

Are you caught up with The Magicians? If not do not click this link, major spoilers for S2! If you are, click away and enjoy the interview with Stella Maeve, Jason Ralph, and Olivia Dudley.

– Do you need more supernatural hijinks on your TV? Enter Midnight, Texas. I am hooked after the pilot; there was a nice balance of solid acting and production value (they really went for it with those corpses) with the hokiness and RED LIGHT OF DOOOOOM, etc., that I would expect from the concept.

– I managed to forget that the Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency show exists, but it is real and Season 2 is coming.

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut might be coming to TV, courtesy of Dan Harmon (??!?!??!!). Harmon plus Vonnegut actually sounds kind of perfect, and I will be keeping an eye this!

– And I’m sure you’ve already seen the Wrinkle in Time trailer but just in case you haven’t, or you want to watch it for the 4,000th time, here it is.

And for your Friday whimsy: Gucci put together a Star Trek-inspired campaign. Bedazzled fanny packs of the future!

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

cover of The Water KnifeSet in a possibly-not-that-distant future, The Water Knife takes place in and around Phoenix, AZ as the city crumbles due to lack of (you guessed it) water. While some are lucky enough to live in “arcs” complete with AC, state of the art water recycling, and all the comforts you could want, most are stuck waiting around Red Cross water pumps, recycling their own urine, and trying to avoid the gangs patrolling the neighborhoods. You might not expect a book that hinges on water rights to be as grim, violent, and fast-paced as The Water Knife is; you would be mistaken.

Did I mention this book is grim and violent? Characters get shot, tortured, coerced into sex, betrayed, you name it, and often a combination thereof. Lucy, a journalist who can’t bring herself to leave the struggling city, is finding out what her dark side looks like. Maria, a young woman trying to find her way from one pitfall to the next, and who experiences some of the most brutal violence in the book, reveals a pragmatic streak that turns the plot in new directions more than once. Angel, a scarred man who does wetwork (sorry) of various sorts for the woman running Vegas, turns out to be one of the most surprising characters in the book. Bacigalupi has been called a grimdark writer, and the shoe fits — which is why the moments of light and hope in this book are so potent.

The Water Knife is blood-soaked, but it’s also a meditation on the power of community. I was fascinated by the tech, much of which is already out there albeit in slightly different form. Having lived in Arizona, California, and Colorado, the geography was familiar enough to make me nostalgic. And his vision of the way society has shifted feels prescient in the way that the best sci-fi does. If you’re looking for another perspective on the potentially horrible future of the United States (because when aren’t we), pick it up.

The Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore has a new book coming out this fall (Jane Unlimited, September 19 2017), which reminded me that I want to remind you all of just how good this series is! On the surface, it looks like your standard “swords and powers” YA fantasy, but it digs deeper than you might think.

cover of GracelingGraceling is our introduction to the Seven Kingdoms and to Katsa, a young woman with a Grace (or special power) for violence. Pressed into service as an enforcer by the king of the Middluns, she’s spent most of her life believing that all she can do is hurt people. But she’s started to reclaim her power, working with a secret council running underground rescue missions. Then she meets a Graced fighter who interferes with one of her missions; Po has the gall to be interesting and attractive as well as a skilled fighter, one who can match her. As we start to see the political workings of the Seven Kingdoms, we also see Katsa find her way to a life that offers more than just violence.

cover of FireFire, the second book published, is technically a prequel. I can’t describe the plot much without major spoilers for Graceling, but that’s fine because there’s so much more. Our main character Fire is literally the most beautiful woman in the world — which brings her nothing but misery and injury. In the hands of a less skilled writer this would be nothing but one cliché after another, but Cashore creates a woman who is isolated, dangerous, and striving to understand what it means to be something other than what people label her. This is the book in the series I reread the most, and it hits me in the feelings every time.

cover of BitterblueBitterblue is the most politically agile and complex of the three, following a young queen as she attempts to bring her country back from the destruction wrought by her father. Unlike Katsa and Fire, her journey to understanding is about her world rather than just herself. What lies do we tell ourselves, and why do we tell them? Can the truth actually set us free? What do you do when reconciliation is impossible? These are huge questions, and Cashore follows them into dark and difficult places.

If you need a series that’s solid distraction with romance, action, adventure, and a big beating heart, add this to your summer stack.

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.

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant from KCP Loft.

Being a math genius is not exactly a ticket to popularity for seventeen-year-old Eva. Even worse, whenever she touches another person or their belongings, she gets glimpses of their emotions, secrets and insecurities, making her keep her distance from everyone. So when Eva realizes she can touch Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist, without getting visions — only sparks — she nds herself drawing closer to him. But then she discovers the history that links them, and the truth threatens to tear the two apart.


Southwestern Audiobooks Part 2: The Return Trip

Ahoy, Audiobook fans!

I’m back back in Cali Cali, with the rest of my list of Southwestern audiobooks. 

Here are books from the states I visited on the way back from Oklahoma to California (If there’s a duplicate state it’s because I stopped there on the California to Oklahoma stretch as well as the journey from OK-CA).

Sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio

The summer months are a great time for road trips with the whole family, but the car ride can get old…quick. Listen to an audiobook the whole family can enjoy and your destination will arrive in no time! Visit for suggested listens and for a free audiobook download of MY FATHER’s DRAGON!

New Mexico Redux:

Death Comes From the Archbishop by Willa Cather

“Willa Cather’s story of the missionary priest Father Jean Marie Latour and his work of faith in the wilderness of the Southwest is told with a spare but sensuous directness and profound artistry. When Latour arrives in 1851 in the territory of New Mexico, newly acquired by the United States, what he finds is a vast desert region of red hills and tortured arroyos that is American by law but Mexican and Indian in custom and belief. Over the next four decades, Latour works gently and tirelessly to spread his faith and to build a soaring cathedral out of the local golden rock—while contending with unforgiving terrain, derelict and sometimes rebellious priests, and his own loneliness.

Death Comes From the Archbishop shares a limitless, craggy beauty with the New Mexico landscape of desert, mountain, and canyon in which its central action takes place, and its evocations of that landscape and those who are drawn to it suggest why Cather is acknowledged without question as the most poetically exact chronicler of the American frontier.”


Our Souls at Night by Ken Haruf

I actually listened to this book on a different road trip and never paid much attention to the fact that it took place in Colorado. I wasn’t thinking much about the setting because the story is sweet and moving and, frankly, not the kind of thing I usually read. From the publisher, “In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Their brave adventures – their pleasures and their difficulties – are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.”


Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

Apologies, Utah, I know this book is not representative of your entire state and I don’t mean to imply otherwise. But this book does take place in Utah, and it’s a fascinating story. Krakauer is a talented investigative reporter who tells the story of the Lafferty brothers, who committed a double murder and claimed they were ordered to do so by God. The story doesn’t stop there, however, and Krakauer “constructs a multilayered narrative of polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith. Along the way, he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest growing religion and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.” Under the Banner of Heaven is vivid, disturbing as hell, and whatever the audio equivalent of a “page-turner” is.

Nevada Redux:

Dragonfish by Vu Tran

“Robert, an Oakland cop, still can’t let go of Suzy, the enigmatic Vietnamese wife who left him two years ago. Now she’s disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who’s blackmailing Robert into finding her for him. As he pursues her through the sleek and seamy gambling dens of Las Vegas, shadowed by Sonny’s sadistic son, ‘Junior,’ and assisted by unexpected and reluctant allies, Robert learns more about his ex-wife than he ever did during their marriage. He finds himself chasing the ghosts of her past, one that reaches back to a refugee camp in Malaysia after the fall of Saigon, as his investigation soon uncovers the existence of an elusive packet of her secret letters to someone she left behind long ago. Although Robert starts illuminating the dark corners of Suzy’s life, the legacy of her sins threatens to immolate them all.”

New Books:

Ghost Country by Sara Paretsky

Ghost Country is a powerful, haunting novel of magic and miracles, of four troubled people who meet beneath Chicago’s shadowy streets – and of the woman whose mysterious appearance changes all of their lives forever.

They come from different worlds and meet at a time of crisis for all of them. Luisa, a drunken diva fallen on hard times, discovers on Chicago’s streets a drama greater than any she has experienced onstage. Madeleine, a homeless woman, sees the Virgin Mary’s blood seeping through a concrete wall beneath a luxury hotel. Mara, a rebellious adolescent cast out by her wealthy grandfather, becomes the catalyst for a war between the haves and have-nots as she searches among society’s castoffs for the mother she never knew.

As the three women fight for their right to live and worship beneath the hotel, they find an ally in Hector Tammuz, an idealistic young psychiatrist risking his career to treat the homeless regardless of the cost. Tensions in the city are escalating when a mysterious woman appears during a violent storm. Erotic to some, repellent to others, she never speaks; the street people call her Starr. And as she slowly transforms their lives, miracles begin to happen in a city completely unprepared for the outcome.”

Beast: Werewolves, Serial Killers, and Man-Eaters: The Mystery of the Monsters of the Gévaudan by Gustavo Sanchez Romero

“Something unimaginable occurred from 1764 to 1767 in the remote highlands of south-central France. For three years, a real-life monster, or monsters, ravaged the region, slaughtering by some accounts more than 100 people, mostly women and children, and inflicting severe injuries upon many others. Alarmed rural communities – and their economies – were virtually held hostage by the marauder, and local officials and Louis XV deployed dragoons and crack wolf hunters from far-off Normandy and the King’s own court to destroy the menace. And with the creature’s reign of terror occurring at the advent of the modern newspaper, it can be said the ferocious attacks in the Gévaudan region were one of the world’s first media sensations.

Despite extensive historical documentation about this awesome predator, no one seemed to know exactly what it was. Theories abounded: Was it an exotic animal, such as a hyena, that had escaped from a menagerie? A werewolf? A wolf-dog hybrid? A new species? Some kind of conspiracy? Or, as was proposed by the local bishop, was it a scourge of God? To this day, debates on the true nature of La Bête, “The Beast,” continue.

Beast takes a fascinating look at all the evidence, using a mix of history and modern biology to advance a theory that could solve one of the most bizarre and unexplained killing sprees of all time: France’s infamous Beast of the Gévaudan.”

Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society by A. Breeze Harper

“Sistah Vegan is a series of narratives, critical essays, poems, and reflections from a diverse community of North American black-identified vegans. Collectively, these activists are de-colonizing their bodies and minds via whole-foods veganism. By kicking junk-food habits, the more than 30 contributors all show the way toward longer, stronger, and healthier lives. Suffering from type-2 diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and overweight need not be the way women of color are doomed to be victimized and live out their mature lives. There are healthy alternatives. Sistah Vegan is not about preaching veganism or vegan fundamentalism. Rather, the book is about how a group of black-identified female vegans perceive nutrition, food, ecological sustainability, health and healing, animal rights, parenting, social justice, spirituality, hair care, race, gender identification, womanism, and liberation that all go against the (refined and bleached) grain of our dysfunctional society.”

Links for Your Ears:

One of Book Riot’s fearless leaders, Amanda, talks about her love of a good audio thriller and lists ten of her favorite titles here. 10 EXCELLENT MYSTERY/THRILLERS ON AUDIO. (I’ve already added all the ones I haven’t read to my list).

Comic book nerds rejoice! Stan Lee Lends His Voice to New Superhero Audiobook Project.

AudioFile Magazine spoke to Thérèse Plummer about her narration of Kevin Wilson’s Perfect Little World: Behind the Mic: Perfect Little World.

Until next week, listeners,