Win a Copy of THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR by Tessa Gratton!


We have 10 copies of The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Three Queens. One crown. All out war.

The king’s erratic decisions have drained Innis Lear of its magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the isle, sensing its growing vulnerability.

The king’s three daughters know the realm’s only chance is to crown a new sovereign. But their father won’t choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align.

Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.

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

Today In Books

Anita Shreve Dies at 71: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Flatiron Books, publisher of Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao.

 Anita Shreve Dies At 71

The author of The Pilot’s Wife and The Weight of Water died of cancer on Thursday. Shreve had announced her illness and cancelled public appearances almost a year ago. “She was such a good friend and she was so generous about other people’s writing,” said friend and novelist Elinor Lipman. “It’s really hard for me to imagine a world without Anita.”

Bringing A Book Fest To The Bronx

Remezcla wrote a piece on Saraciea Fennell who’s working to bring a book festival to the bookstore desert that is the Bronx. Fennell, who grew up in the Bronx and attended Title I public schools, wants to bring the festival she didn’t have as a kid to her neighborhood. She’s currently crowdfunding the project, and Elizabeth Acevedo and Daniel José Older have signed on to serve as the keynote speakers. Click here for the feature and here for the Kickstarter.

VIDA Calls For #SaferLIT

Non-profit feminist organization VIDA asked journals and presses to pledge for #saferLIT. The pledge includes not harassing or abusing anyone, nor being a bystander; publishing work free from bigotry, sexual exploitation, and abuse; and making your office, publication, and events as safe as possible. The organization promised to announce more #saferLIT initiatives as the year progresses.

Book Radar

THE HAZEL WOOD is Coming to the Big Screen

Happy April! Once again it is Monday, and once again, I am so delighted to be sharing bookish things with you! I love being able to pass along information that might brighten someone’s day. Related: I have a bunch of great stuff for you today! I hope everything in your world is marvelous and you have something wonderful to read. Enjoy your upcoming week, and be excellent to each other. – xoxo, Liberty

Sponsored by Flatiron Books

Following two sisters in their pursuit of passion and independence, this is a genre-bending novel that is part coming-of-age, part historical fiction, with elements of mystery and paranormal. When one of the sisters goes missing, the other must put aside her books to find her–and start living.

Deals, Reals, and Squeals!

Gina Rodriguez to star as Carmen Sandiego in Netflix live-action feature.

Joe Wright will direct The Woman in the Window, a big screen adaptation of the A.J. Finn thriller.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me is getting the theatrical treatment.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is going to be a film! (P.S. I lurve this book.)

And so is The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw!

Narcos star Pedro Pascal has landed a key role in the Wonder Woman sequel.

Weekly Stephen King news: A new film version of The Tommyknockers is being made.

Cover Reveals

Becky Alberti and Adam Silvera shared the first look at their queer novel What If It’s Us. (HarperTeen, October 9)

Joseph Fink’s Alice Isn’t Dead podcast is becoming a novel. Here’s the first glimpse. (Harper Perennial, October 30)

And here’s our first look at Sea Change by Khaled Hosseni. (Riverhead Books, September 18)

And here’s the cover of Alexandra Bracken’s Darkest Minds spinoff: The Darkest Legacy. (Disney-Hyperion, July 31)

Sneak Peeks

And speaking of The Darkest Minds, the official trailer for the film adaptation has been released!

And if you life excerpts, here’s one for Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir!

The trailer for the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale is so intense!

Here’s the trailer for Killing Eve, the show based on Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings. 

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!

temper by nicky draydenTemper by Nicky Drayden (Harper Voyager, August 7)

Hey, remember that amazing, bananapants book The Prey of Gods? Well, get excited, because she has a new one and it too is a wild delight! It’s about the relationship between twin brothers – one of whom is (literally) branded the lesser twin – which becomes really messy when demonic possession enters their lives. They must work together to thwart the demons before someone loses his – wait for it – temper. Drayden is such an imaginative writer and this one gets two possessed thumbs up!

spinning silverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, July 10)

Despite the similar covers, this is not an Uprooted sequel. It is, however, a highly inventive and fun interpretation of the classic fairytale Rumpelstitskin. (You know, the one where the lady tries to weasel out of her end of the bargain by guessing the little man’s name?) In this one, the scary creatures in the woods hear that the moneylender’s daughter, Miryam, can turn silver into gold. (Actually she’s just good at her job, but scary creatures don’t care about that.) Told from several perspectives, Novik weaves a remarkable tale of family, honor, and bravery.

And this is funny.

I am heavily invested in the adventures of Kelly Link’s cat.

The Kids Are All Right

20 Amazing Children’s Books Coming Out This Tuesday!

Hi Kid Lit friends,

I was going through my usual weekend ritual of pulling out all upcoming releases from my galley bookcase, and I was struck by how many amazing books are releasing this Tuesday. I thought I’d pick out my favorite twenty and tell you why I love them.

Sponsored by Nothing But The Truth Publishing

Stewie BOOM! and Princess Penelope get ready to have a fabulous play-date with Eric, their awesome friend with autism. This book delves into many ways families can embrace neuro-diversity.

Board Books

Little Truck by Taro Gomi (Chronicle)

There are not enough truck books in the world to appease all the toddlers who are obsessed with truck books, and I’m so happy this new one is about to come on the scene. Little Truck is setting out to explore! He’s going fast, climbing hills, and braving tunnels, being just the right amount of careful along the way. But no matter how far he goes, his caring parent is never far behind. Filled with adorable, bright illustrations, Little Truck is sure to please the youngest truck lovers (and their parents).

Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure (Abrams Appleseed)

No, seriously. Is it summer yet? Personally, I’m tired of the snowstorms that keep blowing through New York City and am looking forward to long summer days. In this charming book, one little boy can’t wait for summer to arrive. He keeps asking, “Mama, is it summer yet?” Mama responds saying, ”Not yet,” but there are plenty of signs that indicate spring is changing into summer: The earth is soft and there are seeds to plant, birds singing, ducklings in the pond, and pink blossoms blooming. The young boy even wears his bathing suit and carries a beach pail in preparation, but will it ever be summer?

Frankie’s Magical Day: A First Book of Whimsical Words by Michelle Romo (Abrams Appleseed)

I love the playfulness of this book of first words by Michelle Romo. It introduces a mix of the unconventional and everyday terms with fun, bright pictures. Featuring everything from a post office and a castle to a bunny bandit and a unicorn, this fun-filled book contains hundreds of objects and places clearly labeled to help little readers expand their growing vocabularies.

Courage by Bernard Waber (HMH Books for Young Readers)

There are many kinds of courage. Big acts of courage and the everyday kinds that normal, ordinary people exhibit all the time, like “being the first to make up after an argument” or “going to bed without a night-light.” Bernard Waber explores the many varied kinds of courage and celebrates the moments, big and small, that bring out the hero in each of us. This was first released in 2002, but this sturdy board book format comes out this Tuesday.


Picture Books

Sometimes You Fly by Katherine Applegate (HMH Books for Young Readers)

I love everything about this book, but as a writer I think my favorite part is the author’s biography where Katharine Applegate writes, “Before Sometimes You Fly became the book you are holding in your hands, it was rewritten hundreds of times.” Ah, revision! Even Katherine Applegate needs to do it. A beautiful book sure to become a favorite for those who love Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.

Aquarium by Cynthia Alonso (Chronicle)

This beautifully illustrated wordless book is filled with magical ocean scenes. A girl ventures to the water’s edge, dreaming of a new friend. And, just like that, a beguiling red fish leaps into her life. But is friendship a sea these two can navigate together? I loved every spread and look forward to taking more time with each illustration.

I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Taro Gomi (Chronicle)

I truly love Taro Gomi’s bright, bold illustrations, and this story is so charming and sweet I could not get enough of it! Yumi and her grandmother have the same great idea: They want to see each other. So they each head out to do just that, only to completely miss each other along the way! No problem—they’ll just head back home and wait for the other to return. The trouble is that they have the same great idea—again—resulting in the ultimate missed connection! Will this duo ever find each other?

But The Bear Came Back by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Dan Taylor (Sterling Children’s Books)

This is another picture book with missed connections. When a bear ends up knocking on a little kid’s door, the bear gets turned away (obviously). The bear is persistent, but so is the kid! Finally, after many attempts, the bear stops knocking. Only then does the boy realize how much he cares about the bear . . . and misses him. Can he find his friend again?

I Got It! by David Wiesner (HMH Books for Young Readers)

There is something so tender about this story of an outfielder waiting for a ball to be hit in his direction. After the hit, there’s plenty of time to envision the increasingly fantastic and funny situations that might interfere with making the catch. Summoning determination and courage, he overcomes the imaginary obstacles and turns them into a springboard for success. I Got It! reveals the extraordinary within the ordinary, taking readers on an amazing journey in a few seconds on a baseball field.

What’s Cooking, Moo Moo? by Tim Miller (Balzer + Bray)

Moo Moo serves up another half-baked scheme—and loyal Mr. Quackers goes along for the ride—in this madcap follow-up to Moo Moo in a Tutu. Yes, for real! The hilarious cow-and-duck duo are opening their own five-star restaurant. You’ll want to see what udderly ridiculous antics they get up to in their new adventure.

The Town of Turtle by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Cátia Chien (HMH Books for Young Readers)

When a solitary turtle decides to make some renovations to his shell, he doesn’t have a blueprint, only a dream for a better life. He starts by building a deck—though he figures the deck could use a fireplace. And a fireplace needs wood, so naturally, he plants a garden. But it isn’t really a garden without a pond . . . Soon, Turtle can barely recognize his own shadow. Finally satisfied with the intricate world upon his back, word begins to spread of the magical “Town of Turtle,” attracting newcomers from far and wide. All are welcome in Turtle’s town, where life is a little less lonely, if only you come out of your shell.


Chapter Books (1)

Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl by Debbi Michiko Florence (Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux)

You knew this was coming, right? Of course this book had to be on this best new releases list, because it’s so awesome! It’s talent show time at school, and eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is excited to show her stuff. But as she thinks about her strengths―tree-climbing, mochi making, collage―none of them feel quite right to perform on-stage. Jasmine’s friends already have a talent: Tommy yo-yo’s, Daisy dances, and Linnie plays piano. Plus, Maggie Milsap (aka Miss Perfect) is saying she’ll have the best talent. When Jasmine’s mom introduces her to the taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, Jasmine finally finds an activity that feels just right. But will she be good enough at taiko in time to beat Maggie Milsap?

Middle Grade

Rebound by Kwame Alexander (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshiping, basketball star his sons look up to. Honestly, I didn’t think Kwame Alexander could pull off a book as great as The Crossover, but he did with Rebound!

Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien (Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers)

My ten year old loved this story; she could not put it down! Peasprout and her little brother Cricket are the first students from the rural country of Shin to attend Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword. They soon find themselves in a heated competition for top ranking. Tensions rise when the dazzling pearl buildings of the Academy are vandalized and outsider Peasprout is blamed for the attacks by her rivals … and even some friends. Now, she must uncover the true vandal to ensure peace between Shin and Pearl – all while becoming a champion.

The Stone Girl’s Story by Sarah Beth Durst (HMH Books for Young Readers)

I was sucked into this fantasy story from the first few pages. Mayka and her stone family were brought to life by the stories etched into their bodies. Now time is eroding these vital marks, and Mayka must find a stonemason to recarve them. But the search is more complex than she had imagined, and Mayka uncovers a scheme endangering all stone creatures. Only someone who casts stories into stone can help—but whom can Mayka trust? Where is the stonemason who will save them?

Seeker of the Crown by Ruth Lauren (Bloomsbury)

One month has passed since Valor broke her twin sister Sasha out of jail. But the girl responsible for her imprisonment, Princess Anastasia, has gone missing, and Valor still longs for justice. So when the queen, desperate to find her daughter, asks Valor and Sasha to track Anastasia down, they don’t hesitate to accept the perilous assignment. This sequel to the awesome Prisoner of Ice and Snow does not disappoint!

They Lost Their Heads! What Happened to Washington’s Teeth, Einstein’s Brain, and Other Famous Body Parts by Carlyn Beccia (Bloomsbury)

This book has some pretty disgusting true stories about famous people’s body parts, which of course made it an absolute hit with my kids. From the kidnapping of Einstein’s brain to the horrifying end of Louis XIV’s heart, the mysteries surrounding some of history’s most famous body parts range from medical to macabre. Carlyn Beccia explores the misadventures of noteworthy body parts through history and springboards to exploring STEM topics such as forensics, DNA testing, brain science, organ donation, and cloning. The engaging tone, wonderfully creepy subject matter, and delightfully detailed art are sure to capture even the most reluctant readers.

Class Action by Steven B. Frank (HMH Books for Young Readers)

I loved Steven’s debut middle grade book, Armstrong and Charlie, and his sophomore book is just as hilarious, important, and touching as his first. Sixth grader Sam Warren is fed up with doing endless homework from the time he gets home to the time he goes to sleep. Suspended for his protest to not do any more homework, Sam decides to fight back. He recruits his elderly neighbor/retired attorney Mr. Kalman to help him file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all students in Los Angeles. Their argument? Homework is unconstitutional. With a ragtag team—aspiring masterchef Alistair, numbers gal Catalina, sports whiz Jaesang, rebel big sister Sadie and her tech-savvy boyfriend Sean—Sam takes his case to federal court. He learns about the justice system, kids’ rights, and constitutional law. And he learns that no matter how many times you get knocked down, there’s always an appeal…until the nine justices have the last say.

Into the Nightfell Wood by Kristin Bailey (Katharine Tegen Books)

Wynn and Elric may now be safe, but adjusting to life in the Between is not without complications. Their adoptive mother, the benevolent Fairy Queen, is haunted by the memory of her child who was kidnapped long ago—and she won’t risk letting the same thing happen to Wynn and Elric. But that same grief has been weakening the queen’s powers for years, and the protective shield around their kingdom is deteriorating. Wynn is coerced into the Nightfell Wood by a creature sent to do the Grendel’s bidding, Elric knows he must go after her to save her life. What they discover there—about fear, prejudice, and the true nature of evil—will change the fairy kingdom forever.

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements (Young Readers Edition) by Sam Kean

I picked up this book a few days ago when I was going through my stack of April 3rd releases, planning only to skim the first few pages. I was immediately hooked. This book is a fascinating look at the periodic table, following elements on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. Adapted for a middle grade audience, the young readers edition of The Disappearing Spoon offers the material in a simple, easy-to-follow format, with approximately 20 line drawings and sidebars throughout. Students, teachers, and burgeoning science buffs will love learning about the history behind the chemistry.


Around the web…

Jacqueline Woodson Wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (via Publisher’s Weekly)

Rabbits, run: Two books about Mike Pence’s bunny Marlon Bundo top bestseller lists (via the Los Angeles Times)

Kid Lit Marches for Kids (via Publisher’s Weekly)


I adore biographies about writers, and House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery (by Liz Rosenberg is a lovely one about the author of Anne of Green Gables. Geared for middle grade readers and beyond, this book is a thorough exploration of her life and various influences to her writing.

Let the Circle Be Unbroken is the next Mildred D. Taylor book on my list. This story continues right after Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. And that cover, right?!?

I already talked about The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean and how much I’m enjoying it, so I won’t rehash that again.

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Until next week!

Izzy is not very good at hide-and-go-seek.

*If this e-mail was forwarded to you, follow this link to subscribe to “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter and other fabulous BookRiot newsletters for your own customized e-mail delivery. Thank you!*

Today In Books

Amazon Strips Rankings From Romance Titles: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret of Flirting, Sabrina Jeffries.

Amazon Strips Rankings From Romance Titles

As early as March 22, romance authors noticed that their titles were removed from Amazon’s Kindle bestseller list. The policy change has affected ebooks tagged erotica published both independently and by traditional publishers, and effectively prevents the books from showing up very high in searches. There’s speculation that Amazon quietly made the change in anticipation of the FOSTA (“Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act”) bill becoming law.

A Star-Studded Staged Reading Of Between The World And Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me will have its first theatrical reading April 2-3 at New York’s historic Apollo Theater. Moreover, the cast headlining the reading includes Common, Angela Bassett, and Susan Kelechi Watson of This Is Us. GRAMMY-nominated jazz musician and composer Jason Moran will be contributing music to the program.

Debut Author Weike Wang Wins PEN/Hemingway Award

PEN America awarded Wang the $25,000 award for her debut novel, Chemistry. This year’s judges described Wang’s novel about a graduate on the cusp of making life-changing decisions as a “brilliant book” written in “elliptical prose, spare and clean as bone.” Seán Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s grandson, will present the award to Wang on April 8 at a ceremony in Boston.

True Story

Aaron Burr’s Publishing a Memoir! (J/K)

Happy almost-April, nonfiction nerds. March is my least favorite month of the year, so I am incredibly happy that we’ll be turning another page on the calendar soon. This week I’ve got some new books, some award winners, and more news about memoirs that I missed last week. Let’s dive in!

Sponsored by Flatiron Books

A memoir of the truths learned in life through crafting — Alanna Okun knows knows that even when we can’t control anything else, we can at least control the sticks, string, and fabric right in front of us.

New Books!

Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri – As communications director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Jennifer Palmieri had a direct view of the challenges faced by the first female candidate for this position. Although Clinton lost, Palmieri argues that the campaign made it possible for the country to start seeing what it might look like for a woman to serve as President, and offers inspiration and advice for women looking to succeed in any field. I’m not sure if this book would have made it to the top of my list, but I heard Palmieri interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts, It’s Been a Minute on NPR, and she was excellent – warm, funny, honest, and realistic in a way I found really engaging.

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton – In 1985, 29-year-old Anthony Ray Hinton was charged with two counts of murder in Alabama, crimes he didn’t commit but was found guilty of anyway. Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution, and spent 30 years on death row until he was released in 2015 (thanks to the work of another name to know – Bryan Stevenson, lawyer and author of Just Mercy). This book is a memoir of his time in prison, and “shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor or joy.”

Failing Up by Leslie Odom Jr. – Aaron Burr’s writing a memoir! Kidding, of course. Leslie Odom Jr. became a household name among theater nerds in 2015 when he originated the role of Aaron Burr in Hamilton. In this book, Odom reflects on his path to Broadway and “asks the questions that will help you unlock your true potential and achieve your goals even when they seem impossible.” The audiobook for this one is set to be out April 10 – I’ll be waiting for that!

Women Winning Awards = Woo!

All of this year’s winners in the competitive categories of the National Book Critics Circle awards were written by women! I want to read every single one of the nonfiction winners right now:

Another awards longlist worth perusing is the finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. Awards are given in 10 categories, including Current Interest, Biography, History, and Science and Technology. The winners will be announced on April 20.

Not Done Talking About Memoirs

Right after I submitted last weeks newsletter, two more memoir-related stories popped up in my feed.

By Jiyang ChenOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The family of fashion and society photographer Bill Cunningham, who passed away in 2016, has discovered a written memoir in his archive. According to the New York Times, “it’s not clear when Mr. Cunningham wrote the memoir … though multiple drafts of certain sections also found in the archive suggest he revised it.” The book, titled Fashion Climbing, is set to be published in September.

Over at Book Riot, Steph wrote a great piece on stunt memoirs that shook up their authors’ life for just one year. I love a good stunt memoir, but even I’ve only read six of the 10 she suggests. It’s a good list!

Cheap Kindle Deals!

This week, I’ve pulled together some Kindle deals in biographies (but get ‘em fast – it looks like these may end on April 1):

Have a stellar weekend! As always, find me on Twitter @kimthedork, and happy reading! – Kim

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Mar 30

Happy Friday, Ents and aeronauts! Today we’ve got reviews of My Soul to Keep and The Merry Spinster, plus scary stories, elves, Ready Player One looks, and more.

The Golden Vial This newsletter is sponsored by Baker Publishing Group.

Vulnerable and weakened by grief after a terrible loss, Hyam has been struck by a mysterious illness that threatens to claim his life. Seeking to help Hyam and restore the realm, Queen Shona travels to Hyam’s remote hometown to find answers.

Dally has always had abilities far beyond those of a normal human—far-seeing and magic come naturally to her. Before the arrival of Shona and her army, Dally had always kept her abilities secret. But with an ancient evil bearing down on her village and the fate of the realm hanging in the balance, the orphaned servant girl steps forward to do what no one else can. Will the battle claim more than Dally is willing to give?

Happy 50th birthday, Saga! Or more correctly, happy 50th issue. I am just one of many readers for whom Saga marked a return to reading comics, particularly in issues. And while I’m not currently caught up, this is a good reminder to pick up where I left off and continue the rollercoaster that is Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples f***ing with our emotions.

Put it in the freezer! Or, if you like horror, take it out — here are nine SF/F books to scare you. Despite being a total horror wimp, I have read most of these and can cosign their inclusion.

Let’s talk about elfpunk. Is it a thing? Abby makes a strong case, and I too can remember the desperate library searches for anything similar to War for the Oaks. And to be quite frank, I’m a fan of any list that includes that bonkers Gael Baudino cover.

Ready for Ready Player One? I myself have very mixed feelings about it (and this Vox article does a great job breaking them down), but I know lots of fans of the book. And for you, I give you this round-up of gear to get ready for the movie!

I did not know when the Gondorian New Year was before reading this post but now I definitely want to make this A Thing.

And last but not least I absolutely ADORE this post about what a wizarding school in South Florida would be like.

And now, onto the reviews. They are both dark and twisty, just like this spring’s weather. Heyo!

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

Trigger warning: harm to children

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive DueI have finally read my first Due! And through the grace of “this one is available from the library now,” I managed to pick the perfect one for me. My Soul to Keep is hard to classify — a little horror (it opens with a murder and goes on from there), a little science fiction, a little fantasy. Paranormal is probably the label that fits it best, but you can decide for yourself. Regardless of where you shelve it, it belongs on your bookcase.

My Soul to Keep follows Jessica, a reporter who is also a wife and a mother, and her husband David, who happens to be a millenias-old immortal. Not that she’d know! They met when she was in college and he was just her Spanish professor. She knows that he’s a devoted husband and father; almost too devoted, always wanting more of her time. She thinks her biggest problem is balancing her work ambitions with the demands of family life; little does she know! A series of murders surrounding Jessica attract the attention of other immortals, and she starts to learn the truth about her marriage. David, in the meantime, has to decide what he can and can’t tell her — and what he’s going to do next.

My Soul to Keep plays with many of the same questions as the previously reviewed Eternal Life by Dara Horn: how do you reconcile immortality with religion? What does family mean to an immortal? But Due is also examining what it looks like to be a black man who cannot die, who lives through slavery, through the rise and fall of empires. She also injects a hefty does of action and gore. This book is a page-turner and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next in the series (although you could read it as a stand-alone).

The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg

Note: Ortberg has recently announced his transition to Daniel, but the book is published under Mallory. 

If you’re a fan of retold fairytales, twisted fairytales, the Brothers Grimm, Ortberg’s “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, Kelly Link, Karin Tidbeck, or all of the above, you need to pick up The Merry Spinster immediately. With stories that reference everything from The Bible to The Velveteen Rabbit to Donald Barthelme (with a helpful guide in the back!), Ortberg takes us to dark and twisty places that some of us might prefer not to visit, but that are so worth it.

I say they’re dark, and I mean it — I had to skim “The Rabbit”, because body horror is really and truly not my jam. But they’re also slyly funny, and very heartfelt. “Fear Not: An Incident Log” which is based on the book of Genesis had me laughing out loud. Her take on The Little Mermaid made me want to stand up and applaud, and “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” had me tearing up. Ortberg is also exploring sexuality, gender and gender roles, love, family, abuse, gaslighting, obligation, and friendship. There’s a lot going on here, and in less than 200 pages, which means there’s a lot to love.

And that’s a wrap! You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

These might be the droids you’re looking for,


Win a Copy of I KILL GIANTS, now a Major Motion Picture!

We have a $50 Visa gift card for one of our lucky Riot readers to enjoy an I Kill Giants Movie Night! And that lucky Riot reader will also get a copy of the book!

Here’s what I Kill Giants is all about:

From the acclaimed graphic novel comes an epic adventure about a world beyond imagination. Teen Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe, The Conjuring 2) is the only thing that stands between terrible giants and the destruction of her small town. But as she boldly confronts her fears in increasingly dangerous ways, her new school counselor (Zoe Saldana, Guardians of the Galaxy) leads her to question everything she’s always believed to be true. I Kill Giants is an intense, touching story about trust, courage, and love, from the producers that brought you Harry Potter.

Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura.

From the producer of Harry Potter, Chris Columbus.

Academy Award–winning director, Anders Walter.

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


Alex dev test DONUT PUBLISH

Hi Kid Lit Friends!

With so much buzz about the book adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time in the box offices, I thought I’d build a book list for those who love the book and/or the movie. Some of the books below are high fantasy, some incorporate science fiction elements, and one is a biography about Madeleine L’Engle’s. All are sure to be enjoyable if you’re looking for more of that Wrinkle magic.

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When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is heavily influenced by A Wrinkle in Time. The main character, Miranda, is always carrying the book around and is constantly comparing situations in her own life to the situations in the book. In an interview with, Stead says, “What I love about L’Engle’s book now is how it deals with so much fragile inner-human stuff at the same time that it takes on life’s big questions. There’s something fearless about this book.”

Some books that I think have that similar high fantasy and science fiction element in the stories include Dragonwings by Laurence Yep, The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by Armand Baltazar, and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. All of these books do a marvelous job at creating alternate worlds that are rich and characters that are nuanced and interesting.

Books that have similar sense of wonder and mysticism to A Wrinkle in Time include The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi and Tumble and Blue by Cassie Beasley. The Dam Keeper is set in Sunrise Valley, a quiet and sheltered place that is protected from a dangerous black fog that looms outside the village by an ingenious machine known as the dam. Pig’s father built the dam and taught him how to maintain it. And then this brilliant inventor did the unthinkable: he walked into the fog and was never seen again. Now Pig is the dam keeper, and a new threat is on the horizon―a tidal wave of black fog is descending on Sunrise Valley.

Tumble and Blue is about a legend: When the red moon rises over the heart of the Okefenokee swamp, legend says that the mysterious golden gator Munch will grant good luck to the poor soul foolish enough to face him. But in 1817, when TWO fools reach him at the same time, the night’s fate is split. With disastrous consequences for both . . . and their descendants. Half of the descendants have great fates, and the other half have terrible ones.

If you or a reader you know loves graphic novels, A Wrinkle in Time was adapted into a graphic novel, illustrated by Hope Larson. In the graphic novel, Hope Larson takes the classic story to a new level with her vividly imagined interpretations of tessering and favorite characters, like the Happy Medium and Aunt Beast. Perfect for delighting old fans and winning over new ones, this graphic novel adaptation is a must-read.

And finally, for those who want to know more about Madeleine L’Engle’s life, her granddaughters recently wrote a book about her using many of her journals as sources. In Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy Use never-before-seen archival materials that include photographs, poems, letters, and journal entries from when Madeleine was a child until just after the publication of her classic, A Wrinkle in Time. It is a story of overcoming obstacles―a lonely childhood, financial insecurity, and countless rejections of her writing―and eventual triumph.

New Releases!
All of these books release this Tuesday. The book descriptions are from Goodreads, but I’ll add a ❤ if I particularly loved a title.

Picture Book New Releases

❤ Cycle City by Alison Farrell (Chronicle)

When little Etta the Elephant goes to her Aunt Ellen’s house, she takes a journey through bicycle-filled Cycle City, a town filled with bikes of all kinds! At the end of the day, a special surprise awaits Etta—the most amazing bicycle parade imaginable. Detail-rich illustrations in this fun seek-and-find book paint the colors of this unusual town where everyone rides some kind of bike—whether a penny-farthing, a two-wheeled unicycle, or a conference bike, everyone is on wheels! Packed with prompts and lots to see on every page, this is a sweet story for the sharpest of eyes.

❤ Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel (Chronicle)

Hello, Hello! Beginning with two cats, one black and one white, a chain of animals appears before the reader, linked together by at least one common trait. From simple colors and shapes to more complex and abstract associations, each unexpected encounter celebrates the magnificent diversity of our world—and ultimately paints a story of connection.

❤ Captain Starfish by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Chronicle)

Alfie wants to participate in the best parts of being a kid, from his friend Antoinette’s birthday party to the relay races at school. But his shyness keeps him from engaging. When Alfie wakes up with That Feeling on the morning of yet another big event—the underwater costume parade—his mom takes him to the aquarium. There, Alfie meets a starfish who shines so boldly Alfie feels small. But suddenly, a tiny clownfish swims up to Alfie for a quick hello and retreats again. Alfie begins to understand that there’s a happy medium between hiding away and being the star, and that he needs to come out of hiding every once and awhile to make meaningful connections.

Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by Jacky Davis and David Soman

Lulu is excited to meet all the rescue dogs when the pet-adoption fair comes to her local farmers’ market. She wants to take all of them home–but she already has Bingo, and Mama says one dog is enough for their family. That doesn’t mean Lulu can’t help, though. It’s time for Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad–her friends Grasshopper Girl and Bumblebee Boy–to step in! The Bug Squad can do all kinds of little but important things, like brush the dogs, play with them, and bring them water and food. And then Lulu comes up with the perfect plan to help the dogs find their forever homes. Her idea is such a success that the Bug Squad knows they’ll be back again next week. Together, they can help every dog get adopted.

Twilight Chant by Holly Thompson, illustrated by Jen Betton (HMH Books for Young Readers)

As day slips softly into night, sharp eyes catch glimpses of the special creatures who are active at dusk. Lyrical text and lush art capture the richness and life of this magical time in a sumptuous picture book that will inspire budding naturalists and anyone who has ever chased a lightning bug at twilight.


Middle Grade New Releases

Love, Penelope by Joanne Rocklin, illustrated by Lucy Knisely (Amulet Books)

Penny is excited to welcome her new sibling, so throughout her mom’s pregnancy she writes letters to it (not it, YOU!). She introduces herself (Penelope, but she prefers “Penny”) and their moms (Sammy and Becky). She brags about their home city, Oakland, California (the weather, the Bay, and the Golden State Warriors) and shares the trials and tribulations of being a fifth-grader (which, luckily, YOU won’t have to worry about for a long time). Penny asks little questions about her sibling’s development and starts to ask big questions about the world around her (like if and when her moms are ever going to get married “for real”).

Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War As Told to Children of Today (Candlewick)

The Second World War was the most devastating war in history. Up to eighty million people died, and the map of the world was redrawn. More than seventy years after peace was declared, children interviewed family and community members to learn about the war from people who were there, to record their memories before they were lost forever. Now, in a unique collection, RAF pilots, evacuees, resistance fighters, Land Girls, U.S. Navy sailors, and survivors of the Holocaust and the Hiroshima bombing all tell their stories, passing on the lessons learned to a new generation. Featuring many vintage photographs, this moving volume also offers an index of contributors and a glossary.

Emily Windsnap and the Falls of Forgotten Island by Liz Kessler (Candlewick)

Emily is headed to a tropical island for a relaxing vacation with friends and family. And this time, Emily promises her best friend, Shona, there will be absolutely no adventure — just plenty of fun. But somehow excitement always seems to find Emily, and before she knows it, she ends up on the other side of a powerful waterfall on a forgotten island no one else can get to. Well, no one that isn’t a half-mer like Emily and her boyfriend, Aaron. The people who live on the island believe in a prophecy that foretells how they can be saved from an imminent, devastating earthquake — and this prophecy seems to revolve around Emily and Aaron, as well as a mysterious, mythic giant. Will they be able to find the giant — and fulfill the prophecy — before it’s too late?

Princess Before Dawn by E.D. Baker (Bloomsbury)

In the seventh tale of the Wide-Awake Princess series, Princess Annie’s beloved home Treecrest has become a favorite destination for all sorts of magical beings. One new set of guests are particularly strange, and they are ready to take over a new hunting ground. Annie and Liam turn to their only friends who can help, Francis and Zoe. But when Francis and Zoe arrive in Treecrest, the new hunting group is having too much fun to pack up and go home and nothing Francis or Zoe say seems to help. Can Annie, Liam and their new friends figure out a way to reclaim Treecrest before it’s overrun with hunters? Or will Annie lose her one true home?

Strange Star by Emma Carroll (Random House Children’s Books)

One stormy June evening, five friends meet at Villa Diodati, the summer home of Lord Byron. After dinner is served, they challenge each other to tell ghost stories that will freeze the blood. But one of the guests–Mary Shelley–is stuck for a story to share. Then there’s an unexpected knock at the front door. Collapsed on the doorstep is a girl with strange scars on her face. She has traveled a long way with her own tale to tell, and now they all must listen. Hers is no ordinary ghost story, though. What starts as a simple tale of village life soon turns to tragedy and the darkest, most dangerous of secrets. Sometimes the truth is far more terrifying than fiction . . . and the consequences are even more devastating.

So many great books are crossing my path this past week. I finished The Right Hook of Devin Velma by Jake Burt (Feiwel and Friends, 10/2/18), a story about friendship, miscommunication, and a viral sensation gone wrong.

The Creativity Project, edited by Colby Sharp, just came out last Tuesday and includes wonderful prompts and stories by kid’s lit authors and educators.

And my Mildred D. Taylor kick continues as I finished The Land, a prequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. The Land is the story of Paul-Edward Logan and his single minded determination to purchase 200 acres of land that eventually becomes the land that Cassie Logan from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry grows up on. Next up in the Logan Family series: Let The Circle Be Unbroken.

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Until next week!

I caught Izzy nibbling on my new release pile for this week. Grr.

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Tara Westover was seventeen when she first entered a classroom. Her stunning debut, in the tradition of The Glass Castle, recounts the quest for self-invention that took her from an unschooled childhood with Western survivalists to the halls of Harvard and Cambridge. EDUCATED is the must-read book of 2018, a memoir hailed by Amy Chua, the author of Political Tribes and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, as “breathtaking, heart-wrenching, and inspirational” and by J. D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, as a “powerful tale” that “deserves to be widely read.”