Win a Copy of IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss!


We have 10 copies of If The Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That’s long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby.

Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out. When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline…if she can just figure out how to use it.

Go here for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below:

Kissing Books

Werewolf Sex and New Releases

It’s Thursday, folks, and all the things are happening.

Before we go any further, I have a huge correction to make: in the last Kissing Books, I attributed the 8 Reasons People Mock Romance post to Sarah Davis. It was actually written by Sarah Nicolas. Sorry Sarah!

Sponsored by The Cameron Brothers, a binge-worthy series by Angelin Sydney.

The Cameron Brothers Box Set features four explosive, action-packed romances that are binge-worthy.

Return to Cameron Country, Cameron of the Skies and Cameron of the Seas and the series prequel, Lifesaver in a Bikini all share one central theme: “Love makes us throw caution to the wind.”

Okay, back to happenings:

The annual conference of the Romance Writers of America (aka RWA) is happening RIGHT NOW, and soon we’re gonna get to the RITAs. (And depending on what time of day you’re reading this, they might be happening! They might have happened already?)

Have you found yourself itching to read some werewolf sex?

Definitely read Kay’s twitter thread. There are many others, but Kay gets the essence of the issue. 

On a more positive note, there’s more adaptation news!

The This Man series and The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas have been opted by PassionFlix, whose production crew is currently filming Aftershock/Afterburn.

Have you seen the trailer for the film adaptation of Heidi McLaughlin’s second-chance romance Forever My Girl? It’s been out for awhile, but I missed it the first time around. Have I missed any others?

Have you had the chance to check out #RomBkLove on Twitter? It’s a great hashtag to troll when you are in need of a TBR explosion. 

Did you catch the Jane Austen Day celebration on Book Riot last week? There were a lot of good articles, including a great list of retellings by authors of color.

Also, Wallace’s video this week is about two more romances she picked up at The Ripped Bodice.

And now, book recs!

Speaking of werewolf sex, GL Carriger’s The Sumage Solution came out last week and I finally got around to reading it! This book, the first in Gail Carriger’s new m/m romance series (and potentially m/nb in the future?) is about Biff, a werewolf, and Max, a sumage. They live in a modern-day San Francisco Bay Area in which supernatural beings are a part of regular life, down to having to list their supernaturality in a rental application. Biff, the Beta of a newfangled pack who has moved to the North Bay to start afresh, is the one who is sent to the supernatural DMV to register their new pack. Max is the civic official who gives them the go-ahead. Max is wary of a werewolf pack invading the Bay Area, until Biff provides plenty evidence that they are not your stereotypical pack. By flirting with him. Things move on from there, complete with Big Misunderstandings and Daddy Issues galore.

It’s here, it’s here! Hate to Want You is FINALLY out! I have been holding off on reading and reccing this book, mostly because I knew it would be best for people to be able to buy it right away once they saw my exclamations on how good it is. And it’s. So. Good. Nicholas and Livvy were once childhood sweethearts, until a tragedy tore them apart, except for one day a year. Now, Livvy’s back in their hometown, and elements from without and within are set to destroy any relationship they might develop before it has a chance. Including neither of them having the ability to communicate with each other. Get ready to have your heart wrenched out and then lovingly put back together.

Looking for a new series? Start with Suleikha Snyder’s Spice and Smoke, the first in the Bollywood Confidential trilogy. Set in the sprawling, dramatic universe of Bollywood film, a motley crew of beautiful, talented people play bedroom games and mind games until everyone including the reader is a confused mess, in the best way. The first one gives you two stories for the price of one; each could have used a little more, but you won’t feel like you’ve lost anything, promise.

Finally, let’s call this segment…YMMV, or Your Mileage May Vary.

cover of The ProfessionalI don’t usually talk about books that I’m not sure I want to recommend, but I need to talk about this trainwreck of a book. Kresley Cole’s The Professional is the first in the Game Makers series, and is about Natalie, a young woman from Nebraska who discovers her biological father is a member of the Russian Bratva. Sevastian, her hot but off-putting bodyguard, has some control issues, and can’t seem to keep himself together around Natalie, even as they fly in the dead of night to Russia under threat of one of her father’s enemies. It all gets wilder from there; when I say trainwreck, I mean it: there is a terrible, terrible thing happening that you cannot turn away from for fear of missing something even worse occurring. Rioter Amanda Diehl told me to “embrace the crazy” when I asked Book Riot folks about it several months ago. And really, that’s the only way to make it through any part of this book that isn’t boning. Which there is a great deal of, in varying levels of fire emoji. Have you read it? Email me or catch me on twitter with your thoughts.

Now, as usual, new and upcoming releases:

Heart of the Steal, Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

Rogue Desire (Anthology)

The Scandal of it All, Sophie Jordan

Wrecked, JB Salsbury

Cutie and the Beast EJ Russell

One True Pairing, Cathy Yardley

Drilled, Opal Carew

The Perfect Game, Elley Arden

Locked in Temptation, Brenda Jackson

By the time we meet again, the RITA awards will have been announced, and maybe Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Beverly Jenkins will have reached her fundraising goal for the Deadly Sexy movie.

In the meantime, catch me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or send me an email at if you’ve got feedback or just want to say hi!

The Goods

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary

Books turn muggles into wizards, and no books have done it more than the Harry Potter series. Celebrate twenty magical years with new gear!

Unusual Suspects

Dark Fictional Serial Killers, New Mysteries in Paperback, and More

Hello fellow mystery fans! Canuck is a crow who not only managed to stop mail delivery but also once stole a knife from a crime scene. This crow desperately wants to be a character in a small town mystery novel and should not be denied.

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.

For fans of dark, fictional serial killers:

LovemurderLovemurder cover image: black and white with woman's face horizontally submered in water. (Valerie Hart #2) by Saul Black: Valerie Hart is attempting to live a normal life as a San Francisco detective who has just put a past relationship back together. But then a murder victim is found with a note for Hart. Turns out the serial killing team she split up years before by catching Katherine Glass and imprisoning her is back. Or at least the free accomplice is, and he’s demanding the release of Glass or he’ll continue killing. Hart has no desire to go back to having to interact with Glass and her psychological games–let alone play a cat and mouse game with the serial killer on the loose–but seeing as Glass’ accomplice was never caught because no one knows anything about him, she has no choice. Dark, gruesome, and suspenseful. (Reads as a standalone.)

I wrote about male thriller writers using ambiguous pen names. And Rincey and Katie discussed their feelings in the Read or Dead podcast: The Essence of a Woman is Not Contained in a Bra

First teaser for Alias Grace, upcoming Netflix mini-series, adapted from Margarate Atwood’s novel about an Irish maid who is convicted of her employers murders.

David E. Kelley talks about Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes adaptation.

Amazon has gotten the US rights to the BBC’s seven upcoming Agatha Christie adaptations.

Upcoming Netflix original crime drama will star Michael C. Hall with Harlan Coben writing.

Blake Lively will star in espionage thriller The Rhythm Section (adapted from Mark Burnell’s first in the Stephanie Patrick novels).

Watch The Snow Man trailer starring Rebecca Ferguson, Michael Fassbender, and Val Kilmer. Adapted from Jo Nesbø’s same titled novel in the Harry Hole series.

If it isn’t your truth to reveal, do you join the lie?

The Lying GameThe Lying Game cover image: The title letters on beach sand with a net intertwined by Ruth Ware: Four women in their early thirties, who as teens bonded over a term at boarding school, are all reunited by a single text message. It is clear there is something more than just old friendships that has Fatima (a Doctor, mother, wife), Isa (a mother of a six-month-old), and Thea (a casino dealer) dropping everything to run back to Kate’s home–the home they spent their weekends at while attending Salten House. The home Kate has called them back to because someone walking a dog came across human remains. While the police are investigating the body, the women are trying to reconcile their past while lying to the people in their current lives and pretending to be home for a school reunion dinner (even though they’ve never attended any previous reunions because they’d been expelled from the school). Told in first person by Isa, we watch as all the women struggle with the lies they once told and the lies they’re still telling. The question is: who are they lying for, why, and when is it time to tell the truth?

Last Comic Standing meets And Then They Were None/Clue– stand-up routines included:

Ten Dead ComediansTen Dead Comedians cover image: blue background with a chalk outline of a body and microphone. by Fred Van Lente: Ten very different comedians receive a text message invitation by a famous comedian they all look up to and find themselves on an island together. While they all accepted in hopes of furthering or resurrecting their careers, they all rather quickly realize something is very wrong when one of them dies. And then the next… It’s all comedians for themselves as they try and figure out who amongst them is the killer, and why they traded in comedy for horror. An entertaining read with various personalities, from social justice comedians to ones you’ll recognize from real life, who you get to know just enough to be full characters but not enough where you’re upset with the fact that they’re all probably going to die…

Recent paperback releases:

Winter of the GodsWinter of the Gods cover image: Snowy New York scene with deer buck standing under beam of light by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Trap by Melanie Raabe, Imogen Taylor (translation)

Unnatural Habits (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) by Kerry Greenwood

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. And if you like to put a pin in things here’s an Unusual Suspects board.

Until next time, keep investigating! And in the meantime come talk books with me on Twitter and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canaves.


Win HELL DIVERS II: GHOSTS By Nicholas Sansbury Smith!


We have 10 copies each of Hell Divers I and II by Nicholas Sansbury Smith to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what they’re all about:

USA Today bestselling science fiction author Nicholas Sansbury Smith delivers another heart-pounding post-apocalyptic adventure in Hell Divers II: Ghosts, the second book in the award-winning Hell Divers trilogy (out July 18th). Bombs dropped during World War III poisoned our the earth. What remains of humankind exists on a massive flying warship. Hell Divers, specially trained men and women, risk their lives to make the dive down to monster-infested, radioactive earth to retrieve fuel cells to keep the ship afloat. They Dive So Humanity Survives!

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

In The Club

In The Club Jul 26

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Today includes a spotlight on Victor LaValle’s work, the Wrinkle in Time trailer, an assortment of theme ideas, and more!

Dangerous Ground by M William PhelpsThis newsletter is sponsored by Dangerous Ground by M. William Phelps.

New York Times bestselling author M. William Phelps, star of Investigation Discovery’s Dark Minds, presents a real-life thriller about his relationship with “Raven,” the serial killer who collaborated with Phelps on Investigation Discovery’s Dark Minds. With meticulous reporting and intimate detail, true crime master M. William Phelps divulges major, newsworthy revelations about one of America’s most prolific serial killers.

Page to screen alert: if you were thinking about picking A Wrinkle In Time back up, now is a great time! The trailer for the film adaptation is here, and I thought it was stunning. It’s been at least two decades since I read the book, and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t that much face-glitter in the original, but I’m willing to put up with some Hollywood-ization in the name of an amazing adaptation. Fingers crossed, and I’ve got my copy on the top of my TBR stack!

Here’s a theme idea: the 7 deadly sins. As one Rioter argues, fiction wouldn’t be much without humanity’s worst flaws, and she’s got a pick for each sin. If your book club thrives on picking apart motives for bad behavior, this is the list for you.

There’s all kinds of historical fiction: speculative, revisionist, and more straightforward. B&N put together a list of 50 of their favorites across the spectrum and across the ages. Some of them might be familiar as popular book group choices (All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale), but others might surprise you. The list is primarily Western and could use some more authorial diversity, but there’s a lot of options here for the book club looking to get historical.

Has your book club ever discussed a work of poetry? There’s no time like the present; here’s a piece on poetry’s importance to one Rioter, along with six collections worth discussing.

Need more LGBTQ+ reads, particularly L and B? Here are two resources for you: 10 novels about black queer women (can I highly recommend you pick up Salt Roads?) and 7 classic lesbian and bi books that you probably missed.

We’ve still got a bit of summer left, which means there’s still time to pick up these diverse recs! Sarah specifically chose ones that would make for good book club reads, and they include memoir, YA, and fiction, so you’ve got a lovely range to work with. 

For my fellow ’80s movie lovers: here are book pairings for 16 Candles, The Princess Bride, Heathers, and more.

Spotlight on: Victor LaValle

I wish I could remember who first recommended LaValle’s work to me, so I could thank them. I’ve been reading him for years, even though normally I avoid books that are this creepy; he’s just that good. His books often take place in NYC and blend the fantastical and supernatural with elements of horror. Reading him can require a bit of bravery (and maybe a lot of lights turned on), and will leave you looking at modern life with a new perspective. His books are chockfull of characters, layers of plot, and commentary on society, so there’s oodles to discuss. If you’ve never read him before, allow me to introduce him to you!

– Get a sense of his taste and influences: LaValle chose 5 books to talk about over on LitHub.
– Need more info about his work? Here’s a reading pathway from Tor.

cover of The Changeling by Victor LaValleWant to dive in with the most recent? The Changeling is an incredibly intense, memorable, and compelling read, and 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.

A few reviews for The Changeling that I found insightful:
– The NY Times has a measured critique.
– NPR called it “enchanting, infuriating, horrifying, and heartbreaking.”
– USA Today gave it 4 out of 4 stars.

And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! 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 (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

What's Up in YA

073117 YA Doesn’t Need To Teach Lessons, Jenny Han’s TO ALL THE BOYS Adaptation, & More YA News

Hey YA Friends!

This week’s “What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by Sovereign by April Daniels, from Diversion Books.

Pick up Sovereign, the highly anticipated sequel to Dreadnought, featuring “the most exciting new superheroes in decades.” (Kirkus, starred review).  

Danielle Tozer is a scarred but enthusiastic veteran cape protecting the city of New Port all on her own.  When she crosses a new supervillain with unexpected methods to destroy capes like her, she’ll be forced to confront parts of herself she never wanted to acknowledge.

July has been a long, hot, and very wet month in my part of the world. But despite the feeling of a never-ending month, it has been peppered with some great YA news. Let’s take this week to catch up on the haps around the YA world.


Thanks for hanging out this week. We’ll be back in your inbox next Monday, with a guest newsletter writer who (!) you (!) will (!) be (!) so (!) excited (!) to (!) hear (!) from (!). Think: fandom, YA books, science fiction, and more.

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Blackstone Publishing – publisher of the Hell Divers Trilogy by Nicholas Sansbury Smith.

USA Today bestselling science fiction author Nicholas Sansbury Smith delivers another heart-pounding post-apocalyptic adventure in Hell Divers II: Ghosts, the second book in the award-winning Hell Divers trilogy (out July 18th). Bombs dropped during World War III poisoned our the earth. What remains of humankind exists on a massive flying warship. Hell Divers, specially trained men and women, risk their lives to make the dive down to monster-infested, radioactive earth to retrieve fuel cells to keep the ship afloat. They Dive So Humanity Survives!

The Stack


Today’s The Stack is sponsored by SUPERB and Lion Forge Comics.

Life is tough. Having superpowers is tougher.
In the fight for freedom, it’s not enough to be different.
You have to be SUPERB.

Teenager Kayla Tate is forced to move back to Youngstown, Ohio an “Event” Level 5 impact zone. Compared to her new life, returning to Youngstown is a step backwards. She has a strained relationship with her childhood friend, Jonah Watkins, school is a nightmare, and everyone is talking about the mysterious superhero and internet sensation, “Cosmosis,” and his nighttime battles against the supposedly-benevolent corporation Foresight.

New Books

Malevolent Faeries, Sibling Saviors, and More New Books!

Happy Tuesday, book lovers! How is everyone today? I had a marvelous week. I spent a lot of time shopping in indie bookstores, which means I have a lot of titles to potentially talk about on future episodes of All the Backlist! And I participated in the 24-in-48 readathon! It really was the best week. I have a few fantastic titles to tell you about today, and as always, you can also hear about several more great books on this week’s episode of the All the Books! Rebecca and I talked about a few amazing books we loved, such as Careers for Women, Hate to Want You, and Madame Zero.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollack.

Two families collide in a bloody Southern Gothic outlaw tale. No good can come of it. Or can it? In 1917 the three Jewett brothers undertake a last-ditch effort to break free of their poverty by turning to a life of shooting and looting. Another farming family, the good-natured Fiddlers, have been swindled out of their land and fortune and are now smack in the middle of the now notorious Jewett Gang’s trajectory. When a crime spree sets the Jewetts on a collision course for the Fiddlers, an unlikely–and turbulent–relationship begins between the families.

strange practiceStrange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Dr. Greta Helsing has a family reputation to uphold. She spends her time administering care to the undead, a lucrative yet quiet life. Quiet, that is, until she uncovers a a group of murderous monks in London’s midst. Now Greta must use her unusual knowledge and profession to put an end to their deadly tirade, before she becomes the next victim. I always love a good twist on a classic character!

Backlist bump: The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

spirit huntersSpirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

Harper Raine has a bad feeling about her family’s new home the moment she steps inside. Then she hears the rumors about the house. And to top things off, her little brother begins acting strangely. Now Harper is spending seventh grade seeking answers to the spirits she senses and trying to figure out a way to save her brother before it’s too late. This is a fun debut to a new middle grade series!

Backlist bump: The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston

the callThe Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

Imagine you’re sitting in class, listening to the teacher talk when suddenly: WHOOSH. Now in a forest, naked as a jaybird, running  for your life from blood-thirsty faeries! That’s The Call, a three-minute challenge that happens to all teens. And no one knows when it’s going to happen. If you survive the test, you’re transported back to your world. Sometimes even the ones who don’t survive are returned… Nessa is determined to survive the trial, but she’s going to have to survive her horrible classmates while she waits. This one is out in paperback today and WOOOO IT’S A DOOZY.

Backlist bump: Tithe by Holly Black

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,