Today In Books

Marlon Bundo Release Angers Indie Booksellers: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by FALLING STAR, a Nashville-set contemporary romance from bestselling author Terri Osburn.

Marlon Bundo Release Angers Indie Booksellers

One independent bookseller called the Amazon-exclusive release of John Oliver’s parody title a “slap in the face.” Oliver’s A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, about Mike Pence’s pet rabbit falling in love with another male rabbit, reached the No. 1 spot on Amazon with proceeds going to Aids United and the LGBTQ charity the Trevor Project. Indie booksellers, none of whom had been told about the release, criticized the decision to point viewers to Amazon. The title’s website now directs customers to a range of booksellers. Click here for background on the Marlon Bundo story and to read the publisher’s statement.

Big Authors Call For Man Booker To Drop Americans

Asked whether any author writing in English and published in the UK should continue to be allowed to enter the Man Booker Awards, 99% of Folio Academy members said no. Academy members include authors Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, and Zadie Smith. The Rathbones Folio Prize was established to challenge the Booker, and awarded its first prize the same year the Booker opened its awards to any author writing in English.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 Trailer Is Here

And everyone’s talking about how the upcoming season will diverge from existing content in Margaret Atwood’s novel. We all knew it would happen–there’s only so much source material. The Hulu original series, and its actors, won Emmys for the first season. Check out the new trailer for season two here.


Teenage Rebels With Causes (Inspired by March For Our Lives)

Happy Thursday, Audiobook lovers,

I hope you had a great week. I went to the March for Our Lives protest in San Francisco on Saturday (see left for a picture of my extremely uncreative sign and extremely adorable dog). It was an amazing event and was packed with teenagers. Teens protesting, teens speaking, teens manning booths, heading out buttons. It was awesome.

Wishlist upcoming releases you’re dying to read. Get exclusive podcasts and newsletters. Enter to win swag. Do it all when you join Insiders.


I adore high-school age kids. I’ve worked with them in some capacity for the last decade or so and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it. Usually when I talk about my work with teens to other adults, they look at me like I train cobras. Recently, though, there’s been a collective shift in the general public’s attitude towards teens, and for good reason. The student survivors of the Parkland shooting–-and students against gun violence everywhere– have been showing up and speaking out since the February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They’ve taken the lead to speak out against gun violence and for safer schools.

I’m glad people are recognizing how capable teens are and I very politely have refrained from yelling I TOLD YOU SO at all the former naysayers. So this week, I thought we could look at some audiobooks where teens are fighting the system and kicking ass.

Teenage Rebels With Causes

Publisher’s description in quotes

All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely,narrators: Guy Lockard &‎ Keith Nobbs

Rashad is absent again today.

That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all…

Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all.” See, Rashad was stealing that bag of chips–-at least that’s what the police officer who beat Rashad within an inch of his life said.  And it didn’t matter that Rashad was an “ROTC kid with mad art skills,” who proclaimed his innocence; he was also a black kid in baggy clothes who a cop was certain had been stealing from the store.

Which is what Quinn, a white kid, thinks he saw. He thinks he saw his best friend’s older brother, a cop, taking down a criminal.

“At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway.”

Alternating between Rashad and Quinn’s point of view, All American Boys describes the aftermath of the brutal event: on Rashad and Quinn personally as well as their school, town, and even the nation.

In some ways, police brutality and systemic racism is not unlike a school shooting. We know it’s tragic when it happens and we try to convince ourselves that it won’t happen here or it was just one fluke incident. But the more incidents we see, whether it’s on TV or in front of our local corner store or public high school, is a tragic reminder that it’s still all too common. Like the Parkland kids, Quinn realizes that “bystander or not, he’s a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.”

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E.Lockhart

If you have been reading this newsletter for any length of time, this title isn’t going to surprise you. Yes, I just love this book. But it also happens to fit the theme! While the stakes are not nearly as high as they are in many of these other books, Frankie is still fighting against a Big Bad Force: The Patriarchy. It all starts when Frankie starts dating Matthew Livingstone, a popular older boy at her elite prep school, Alabaster Academy. All seems to be going well, until Frankie discovers that Matthew is part of an all-male secret society–-a group from which she is necessarily excluded because of her gender.

But Frankie, because she is a badass, does not “go gentle into that good night.” Instead, she executes a plan to teach not just the Royal Order of the Basset Hounds but all of Alabaster High a lesson.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, narrated by Archie Panjabi (AKA Kalina from The Good Wife!)

When she was fifteen years old, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head while riding the bus home from school. The culprit?  A Taliban gunman; the Taliban, had local control of the area and had banned girls from attending school. Malala was not expected to survive the attack. But she did.

Malala became an icon, not just for the diary she anonymously published at age 11, or the attack on the school bus, or even her bravery getting on that bus in the first place but also for the work she’s done since. An advocate for the rights of girls and woman, Malala is the youngest person ever to have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.”

Permanent Record by Leslie Stella, narrated by Nick Podehl

“For 16-year-old Badi Hessamizadeh, life is a series of humiliations. After withdrawing from public school under mysterious circumstances, Badi enters Magnificat Academy. To make things “easier”, his dad has even given him a new name: Bud Hess. Grappling with his Iranian-American identity, clinical depression, bullying, and a barely bottled rage, Bud is an outcast who copes by resorting to small revenges and covert acts of defiance, but the pressures of his home life, plummeting grades, and the unrequited affection of his new friend, Nikki, prime him for a more dangerous revolution.

Strange letters to the editor begin to appear in Magnificat’s newspaper, hinting that some tragedy will befall the school. Suspicion falls on Bud, and he and Nikki struggle to uncover the real culprit and clear Bud’s name.”

This is one of those books where I just don’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. I loved it. It’s one of those books that makes you laugh while it punches you in the gut. Which I realize doesn’t sound like a selling point, but I swear it is.

Do you have any favorite teenage rebels with causes? Let me know at or on twitter at msmacb.

Until next week,





We have 10 copies of The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Leigh is certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. She winds up chasing after ghosts and uncovering family secrets. Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, and hope and despair, this is a debut novel about finding oneself through family history and love, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng.

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

Today In Books

Comics Anthology Supports Vegas Shooting Survivors: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Tomorrow by Damian Dibben, new from Hanover Square Press.

A Comics Anthology Benefiting The Vegas Shooting Survivors

Image Comics announced a comic anthology about the trauma of gun violence in America, titled, Where We Live: A Benefit for the Survivors in Las Vegas. The proceeds from sales of the anthology will go towards the Las Vegas Victim Fund’s official GoFundMe campaign, which supports survivors of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Contributors (there are many) include Gail Simone, Neil Gaiman, Amy Chu, and Kelly Sue DeConnick, and the title will be out May 30.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Electronica Album

No joke. Ursula K. Le Guin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness and so many more science fiction classics, made an electronica album. The musical work was created with electronic musician and composer Todd Barton to accompany her book Always Coming Home. The album was reissued after Le Guin’s death in January, and you can listen to it here.

Bookseller Convicted Of Stealing Rare Harry Potter Copy

A British bookseller was found guilty of stealing a copy of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, signed by JK Rowling. Rudolf Schonegger swapped the rare edition worth £1,675 (almost $2,400) with another book; he was arrested after booksellers who had made purchases from Schonegger recognized him from CCTV images.

Kissing Books

People Who Can’t Words and Other Love Stories

Look, I know I said last week was quiet, and it really wasn’t. This week, it really has been quiet, so let’s look at the big newsmakers that I might have only touched upon last week:

Sponsored by FALLING STAR, a Nashville-set contemporary romance from bestselling author Terri Osburn.

A country star looking for a comeback has one last shot at fame—and maybe one last shot at love.

Naomi Mallard is a fixer by nature. And as PR manager for Nashville’s Shooting Stars record label, she’s facing her biggest fix: redeeming country music bad boy Chance Colburn. Chance has spent his life running from demons and making tabloid headlines that have sent his career into a tailspin. Now he’s struggling to find his muse and maintain his newfound sobriety, all while counting on the woman he once betrayed to repair his tattered reputation.


The Romance Writers of America RITA and Golden Heart finalists were announced last week, and while I mentioned them cursorily last week, now we have time and space to discuss it. The first thing I noticed, that many others did as well, was that while there are authors of color on both lists, there are no black authors. Some people, confused after reading some awesome books last year, wondered at that. And I think I can say we were all amazed when authors like BEVERLY FUCKING JENKINS saying she’d never submitted because back in the day, Bozo the Clown would have been named a finalist before she did. I’m sure this would no longer be the case, since, you know, she has a RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. But authors of color who don’t have her name, don’t have her titles, might see the limited number of RITA winners of color as another place where the gate is kept, locked against them. It was mentioned in that same thread that the RITAs could benefit not only from some restructuring, but also from better recruitment practices for the judges. We all know that publishing has a problem when it comes to representation, and it’s not surprising that it’s also trickled down into organizations for people in publishing. This is one of those “I have no solutions, just stating the problem” issues, but if you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

Alexis Hall wrote a really good blog post about it, too. (Which resulted in this thought-provoking tweet thread, too.)

And in case you missed it last time, there is a brand new, amazing site created and maintained by queer authors of color. The database alone is amazing for finding new authors to explore, but there are other parts that are definitely going to be awesome to have regular access to. Also, the statement they make on their homepage, which addresses various stakeholders individually, is incredibly powerful.


RITA nominee Take The Lead is 3.99. If you haven’t read it yet, you should!

Alessandra Torre’s Love, Chloe is 99 cents right now.

A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles is 1.99 through the month. Be forewarned: you will get hooked.

Over on Book Riot

Trisha and I had hella fun talking about indie publishing and some of our favorite new recs on this week’s When In Romance. Also, seriously. Let’s take back that hashtag.

Wondering what you should read next? This quiz is surprisingly helpful.

We’ve still got a giveaway for a $250 Barnes and Noble gift card!


This week’s recommendations brought to you in part by People Who Can’t Words. I loved all three of these books in very different ways, but boy, did all six of these people have issues with wordsing.

Hurts to Love You
Alisha Rai

That’s right, y’all. It’s out, and I’m done, and I’m still crying at how beautiful this whole trilogy is. The third installment of the Forbidden Hearts trilogy centers on Gabe, Livvy’s boss at the tattoo parlour and old friend of both sides of the family, and Eve, the youngest member of the Chandler family. Both have family issues up the wazoo, and also have their own opinions on what the other deserves in a mate. Even when they make the decision to try using their words, they end up not doing it right, leaving them with what both thinks is the only option. Which isn’t an option at all.

Overall, a beautiful, melodramatic, conclusion to a magnificent series.

Baby Daddy
Kendall Ryan

This one is definitely a different style, and a different pace. Emmett and Jenna also have trouble wordsing, and we as readers will share a similar kind of frustration as they go through their own stuff. Of course, their stuff is not the stuff of the Chandlers and Kanes. Instead, their stuff is all about sex. Of the baby-making kind. The two get stuck on an elevator when Jenna is on her way to a fertility clinic in Emmett’s building (y’all know how much I love stuck-in-an-elevator stories), and make the outrageous decision to go the old-fashioned route. So these two people, who have only just met, decide to work as hard as humanly possible to get Jenna pregnant, because that’s what she wants, and when it’s done, they’re done. Or at least that’s what they keep telling themselves. Neither’s very happy about it, though.

Cute, frustrating, and a nice introduction to a new-to-me author (though I just read another of her books, Dirty Little Secret, only to discover that it did not stand alone and I was not happy. FYI.)

A Girl Like Her
Talia Hibbert

If you’re at all active on romance twitter, this is a book and a name you might have heard a bit about recently. Talia Hibbert sort of popped up out of nowhere, and she hit the ground running. This was my first book by her, but it will definitely not be the last. In A Girl Like Her, Ruth is the girl that people don’t understand. She’s blunt, she’s forward, and she doesn’t suffer fools. This is, in part, the way that her autism presents itself. Evan is former military (did I mention that he was inspired by that gif of Infinity!Cap walking?) and also has a habit of trying to take care of people like he wishes someone had him when he was younger. How does that play out between the neighbors? Evan can’t stop feeding Ruth, of course.

Seriously, this story is adorable, and heartwarming, and heartbreaking. Read it, and then join me in devouring the rest of her stuff.

New and Upcoming Releases

Her Perfect Affair by Priscilla Oliveras

Invitation to the Blues by Roan Parrish

Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

Twice Bitten by Lynsay Sands

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

As usual, 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!

What's Up in YA

“I wanted to write a fat girl whose story is now”: Author Amy Spalding on JORDI PEREZ, Teen Rom Coms, and Great YA Reads

Hey YA Readers!

We’ve got a great interview to kick off another month of YA fun.

“What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by Rebel with a Cupcake by Anna Mainwaring from KCP Loft.

Jesobel Jones says what she wants and eats what she wants — she is who she is, no regrets. But when a wardrobe malfunction leads to a mortifying encounter with a mean girl, Jess’s confidence suddenly takes a nosedive. Being fat has never bothered her before, but Jess starts to wonder if she’s been just a little too comfortable in her own skin. When the boy of her dreams seems suddenly interested, Jess must decide whether to try to fit in or remain true to herself — whoever that is. Fans of Bridget Jones’s Diary will love this bold and hilarious debut.

Today we’re joined by the hilarious Amy Spalding, author of The Summer of Jordi Perez (And The Best Burger in Los Angeles), which hits shelves tomorrow, April 3. As a long-time fan of Amy’s writing style — a mix of humor, heart, complicated relationships, and romance — it felt only right to bring her here to talk about her new book, about representation of different bodies in YA literature, and about young adult romantic comedies.

Oh, and of course, some of her favorite books. Without further ado, here’s Amy!


Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

By day, she manages the digital media team for an indie film advertising agency. By later day and night, Amy writes, performs, and pets as many cats as she can.


KJ: Give us the pitch for Jordi Perez

AS: I was at ALA Midwinter signing early copies of this book, and a librarian ran over to me and said, “I heard this book is about lesbians and cheeseburgers, the two best things!” So that’s the short pitch.

The longer pitch is that it’s a teen lesbian rom-com about a fat girl who lives and breathes fashion, and falls for the girl she’s competing with at her summer internship. It’s about representation and how you’re seen versus how you see yourself, but also first love, friendship, and cheeseburgers.


KJ: Your main character is a queer fat girl who loves fashion and food and has no interest in weight loss. This shouldn’t be, but is, revolutionary in YA. Talk a bit about what inspired Abby as a character.

AS: I knew I wanted to write a queer romcom, initially because there are so many stories where the girl gets the swoony boy, and so I wanted to write about the girl getting the swoony girl. In reading lots of YA, I kept noticing how often stories about queer kids were sad. Kids get shunned, beaten, thrown out of their homes, and sometimes even murdered. Of course, these are realities for many kids—and adults too. Despite strides made, our culture is still incredibly homophobic, transphobic, etc. But I wanted something else in queer YA lit, where things are funny and romantic and warm-and-fuzzy in that special glow you can only often find in romantic comedies. There’s certainly a place for important stories to be told about young queer characters, but look at all the escapist stories about straight kids! I wanted a story for a young queer girl that would make her look hopefully toward her future, and give her at least a temporary respite from the dangers present. I think kids understand the dangers out there; it was fun to write about the other side. It’s exciting having watched other lighter queer books find readers as time’s gone on too!

I’d been wanting to write a fat main character for almost as long as a queer one, and so it all sort of hit me at once that this was the book. I think a lot about fat fashion myself, but I didn’t want to just use Abby as a vehicle for my opinions, though of course I did want to dig deep and be honest about being fat and loving style in our culture. It’s so frustrating whenever a fat character’s storyline and personality are just about being fat! I don’t know anyone in my life who’s fat who only thinks about fat things and does fat things and talks about fat things. But I also did not want to ignore how the world can make you feel as a fat person, even a fat person who doesn’t hate herself.

Something that’s frustrated me, not only in the portrayal of fat characters, but often in how fat people are expected to talk about themselves, is the idea that we’re the “before” in life, or the prologue to the real story. Thin people get stories, adventures, romance. Fat people have to earn it by losing weight first. I wanted to write a fat girl whose story is now.


KJ: One of the themes your book explores is being in front of the camera vs. being behind the scenes. Can you talk a bit to this idea? Does Abby see herself as an outsider looking in or an insider looking out?

AS: Abby definitely sees herself as an outsider, at least at the start of the book. She’s convinced that even though she’s skilled at things and has great style that the world wouldn’t possibly see that about her. She also – fairly, to some degree – sees how the world views fat people, and never wants to put herself in a position where she could be subject to ridicule. Throughout the story, though, there’s much to challenge these narrow views Abby has of both herself and the world around her, and I hope it hits the right tone of real but also rom-com gauzy and happily-ever-after!


KJ: Your books are among the rare subgenre in YA of romantic comedies. What draws you to writing these funny stories and what writers — inside or outside of YA — inspire you with their own takes on rom com?

AS: I love romantic comedies! And maybe I’m just a goof, but I never really looked around and noticed how rare they were in YA when I was starting out.

Some of the first books I fell really hard for were E. Lockhart’s Ruby Oliver titles and The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot, which are funny, feminist, and quite swoony. So once I had the idea for my own romantic comedy, I just went for it!

I do think that women are not always encouraged to be funny the way men are. Middle grade books are often very funny, no matter the gender of the author and main characters. But then something shifts in YA.

I’m so glad there are so many great people challenging these expectations! I adore everything Maurene Goo writes; she’s so funny and sharp, and her style is so distinctly her. I fell hard for When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and cannot wait for From Twinkle, with Love.

I’m also always very inspired by art outside of books. Even though it has a lot of very dark moments, I found a lot of inspiration in Fun Home the musical, by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori and based on the Alison Bechdel graphic memoir, particularly in the romance between Medium Alison and Joan in this small, sweet spot of the show unmarred by the tragedy yet to unfold. And even though it’s not about young(er) people, I loved Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito’s Take My Wife, in how an openly queer show can still tell stories above love and relationships that are quiet and sweet and not just about coming out or the stereotypical queer storylines that have often been pushed onto queer characters by straight creators in the past.


KJ: Despite being humorous, your books are pointedly feminist. Can you talk a bit about where you see Jordi Perez in the larger conversation on feminism and YA literature? Or even feminism and teen culture?

AS: Considering that some of my first experiences in YA were books that read like delicious fluffy confections but contained feminist and sex-positive messages, I honestly never thought about doing anything but! As a feminist, I write through a feminist lens. I loved showing what a queer fat girl is really like, beyond any stereotyping. I didn’t write Abby to be every queer fat girl; I wrote her to be one very specific one. And I loved the power in showing a girl who didn’t hate herself for her size or her queerness, even though she’s in a culture that can send very strong messages to girls to do so.


KJ: One of the plotlines in Jordi Perez involves Abby eating a lot of hamburgers throughout Los Angeles to help a friend’s dad with a yelp-like app creation. This begs the question: how much research did you do for this and what’s your favorite burger in LA?

AS: Oh, gosh, I did lots of research. What a chore to have to drive through my beautiful city and eat so many cheeseburgers! Truly, it was the most fun I’ve ever had researching, and the most eager my friends were to help me out. I genuinely spent months eating burgers for the sake of this book. For fast food, I – like most Southern Californians – love In-N-Out. My slightly fancier burger favorites are Umami Burger and Fusion Burger. Barbrix in Silver Lake used to feature a fairly upscale burger I adored, but sadly it no longer appears to be on their menu, so it will have to live on only in my memories.


KJ: What have been some of your favorite YA books in the last couple of years?

AS: Beyond those I’ve mentioned already, I loved Robin Benway’s Far from the Tree, Zan Romanoff’s Grace & the Fever, and Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay. A friend told me that Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star had one of the swooniest kissing scenes put to paper, and that friend was not wrong. I know that The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is hardly flying under anyone’s radar, but I feel that for all its buzz it truly is a wonderfully written and beautiful story that more than lived up to its hype – a powerful message in a book that doesn’t read at all like homework.


KJ: What YA authors do you think are breaking new ground within the category and should be on the radars of more readers?

AS: Besides all the authors already mentioned, I was an early reader of Britta Lundin’s Ship It and fell in fast love with it. Anyone who cares about fandom, conventions, and queer YA should pre-order it now! Elana K. Arnold takes huge, bold risks, and I’m always blown away by her work. I love the girls centered in Julie Murphy’s books; they always feel simultaneously like someone startlingly new and a familiar face already in your life.


KJ: If you could give your 12-year-old self any YA book, what would it be and why?

AS: Speaking of Julie Murphy, oh, to have gotten to be a tween when Dumplin’ came out and to have read about a fat girl with all the same doubts and fears I would someday have. This book is such a gift.



A big thank you to Amy for taking the time to share this, and a big “good luck” to each and every one of the “What’s Up in YA?” readers as you add even more books to the toppling TBR you have going on.

Until next week, pick up a good book or two and enjoy!

— Kelly Jensen

Currently reading We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss

In The Club

In The Club Mar 28

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Let’s dive in.

This newsletter is sponsored by BookishFirst.

Be You. Be Bookish. Be BookishFirst.

Be the first to discover new books before they are published! Read excerpts, share your thoughts, earn points, and win FREE books. Get 500 points just for joining! Sign up at

Read like an ambassador: Condé Nast Traveler asked foreign ambassadors to the US to recommend one book to read before visiting their country, and here are the picks.
Book group bonus: if someone from your group has traveled to one of these places, read that one first and have them lead the discussion! Show and tell optional.

The stunt memoir is a real subgenre of memoir — and sometimes, the results are fascinating.
Book group bonus: have everyone share what their stunt memoir would be about.

Winter is still here but the Olympics are over, and here are some books to fill that void.
Book group bonus: Pair whichever book you pick with Youtube videos of a related event from the 2018 Winter Olympics! Extra bonus points for any viewings of Scott and Tessa.

Keeping up with the classics: In our never-ending quest to help bring more translated works to light, here are some modern classics in translation.
Book group bonus: Discussion of what makes something a true classic. I have never once failed to have a very interesting argument about this any time it comes up.

If you’re yearning for Spring, you might appreciate this round-up of books with “flowery” titles. (I love a good seasonal theme.)
Book group bonus: Any/all “Winter is coming” jokes.

Jazz hands! Here’s a must-read list of books for musical theater fans.
Book club bonus: Plan an outing to a theatrical production, or an at-home viewing, for your group — and, naturally, pair it with your book selection. Alternate idea: Everyone brings their favorite song from a musical to play for the group. (I wrote this one specifically for my good friend who hates musicals, sorry not sorry.)

Join the movement: This reading list for black liberation includes one of my recent favorites, Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper.
Book group bonus: There are many amazing podcasts by black creators, and Bustle has rounded up five. Assign one episode for listening and discussing alongside the book of your choice!

Get better acquainted with manga with this list of action and adventure titles by women.
Book group bonus: Follow up this discussion with the discussion of a graphic novel to compare and contrast the reading experience.

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 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.

Your fellow booknerd,

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

Riot Rundown TestRiotRundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Tor.

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.

Today In Books

BLACK PANTHER Becomes Highest Grossing Superhero Movie: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by The Gods of Winter by Gerald G. Griffin.

Black Panther Becomes Highest Grossing Superhero Movie

Over the weekend, Black Panther became the highest grossing superhero movie in the U.S., surpassing The Avengers. The comic adaptation is now also the fifth highest-grossing movie ever in the U.S., passing the $1 billion mark at the global box office to bring its total worldwide gross to $1.23 billion.

Amazon Keeps Policy Allowing Third-Party Sellers To Win Buy Buttons On Book Pages

Amazon’s hotly contested third-party buy button is here to stay, according to industry professionals. The year-old feature allows third-party sellers to “win” the buy button. In effect, orders placed through some buy buttons are sourced from third-party sellers. Authors and publishers protested the change because they get cut out of those transactions.

Butterbeer Hair Is Trending

For those of you who keep an eye out for the latest in literary fashion and beauty trends, break out the dye: Butterbeer hair is trending. Based on Hello Giggles’ roundup of Butterbeer-inspired dye jobs, the actual color (combo) is up to interpretation, but heavy on the oranges, reds, and yellows. So, don’t be surprised when #butterbeerhair sneaks into your feed.

New Books

Don’t Miss This Week’s New Books!

Happy Tuesday, book lovers! There are a lot of excellent books out today and I hope you are able to get your tentacles on all of them.

I have a few awesome books for you below and you can hear about several more great titles on this week’s episode of the All the Books! Rebecca and I talked about a few amazing books we loved, including Hurts To Love You, Emergency Contact, Improvement, and more.

Sponsored by Image Comics, publisher of Moonstruck by Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle.

moonstruckWerewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late. The first chapter of the brand-new, all-ages, magical, coffee-laden adventure from Lumberjanes creator Grace Ellis and talented newcomer Shae Beagle.

cover image: black and white image of a thin white woman in a short sleeve shite collar shirt tucked into a skirt shading her eyes from the sun with her handTangerine: A Novel by Christine Mangan

Alice is dismayed when an old friend turns up in Tangier after an accident that caused a rift between them a year earlier. Then her husband goes missing. Suddenly everything Alice knows and believes gets turned on its head, and she will have to sort out the truth – even if it changes everything. What a debut! This is a slow burning, atmospheric suspense novel that has already been picked up as a film!

Backlist bump: The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani ChokshiAru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

A fantastic start to a new middle grade series! (We can never have too many!) This is a wonderful story about a young girl named Aru who is spending her summer break in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture. Oh, and she kinda accidentally awakens an ancient demon. In the ensuing chaos, Aru’s mother and classmates are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. This book is a delight. I loooooved it.

Backlist bump: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

herding catsHerding Cats: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen

A new collection from Sarah Andersen is a reason to celebrate. When I read her comics, I feel SEEN. I love her takes on life, whether it’s imposter syndrome, her love of cats and books, her body image, or her love of sleep and solitude. She is the best!

Backlist bump: Heart and Brain: An Awkward Yeti Collection by The Awkward Yeti and Nick Seluk

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,