Today In Books

Bookstores Being Censored By Facebook’s New Ad Policy: Today In Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Flatiron Books and If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.

cover image: white teen thin girl looking over her shoulder

Bookstores Being Censored By Facebook’s New Ad Policy

Facebook’s recent policy, which is meant to target foreign political ads trying to influence U.S. politics, is censoring bookstore’s ads promoting author events. Facebook’s definition of what qualifies as political already affected “Ijeoma Oluo, promoting her book So You Want to Talk About Race (Seal Press), and Cecile Richards, discussing her memoir Make Troubleat A Room of One’s Own Bookstore. 

Bookshop Owner’s Tweet About £12.34 Sale Day Goes Viral

And brings in a bunch of sales! ImaginedThings has been struggling lately according to its owner Georgia Duffy who took to Twitter to say, “If anyone was thinking about buying a book now would be a great time!” The Internet responded by buying about 70 books, and she even got an offer from an author to do a reading at her store. Good job, Internet!

First Plus-Size Superhero Film One Step Closer

Faith Herbert, and her telekinetic superpowers, are one step closer to gracing the big screen as Sony Pictures is moving forward with the adaptation of the Valiant comic Faith. And Maria Melnik has been hired to write the picture. Now we excitedly wait for casting, director, and release date.

The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Books with Immigration Themes

Hi Kid Lit friends,

As we approach Independence Day in the United States of America, I find myself thinking about that poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. It was written by Emma Lazarus in 1883, and she wrote it for a fundraiser auction to raise money for the pedestal upon which the Statue of Liberty now sits.

Sponsored by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic

The first book in Jeff Smith’s New York Times bestselling, award-winning graphic novel series featuring an unlikely hero who must save an idyllic valley from the forces of evil.

After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins — Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone — are separated and lost in a vast, uncharted desert. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. Eventually, the cousins are reunited at a farmstead run by tough Gran’ma Ben and her spirited granddaughter, Thorn. But little do the Bones know, there are dark forces conspiring against them and their adventures are only just beginning!

This is the poem in its entirety:

New Colossus
Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Given the news and the upcoming Independence Day holiday, I thought I would round up some new children’s books with immigration themes. All descriptions from Goodreads.

Picture Books

A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui

A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event―a long-ago fishing trip. Graphic novelist Thi Bui and acclaimed poet Bao Phi deliver a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son―and between cultures, old and new. As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam.

Drawn Together by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat

When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Eggers

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you’d mention the Statue of Liberty.

Have you seen her?

She’s in New York.
She’s holding a torch.
And she’s in mid-stride, moving forward.
But why?

In this fascinating and fun take on nonfiction, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential of an entire country’s creation.

God Bless America: The Story of An Immigrant Named Irving Berlin by Adah Nuchi, illustrated by Rob Polivka

Persecuted as Jews, Izzy Baline and his family emigrated from Russia to New York, where he fell in love with his new country. He heard music everywhere and was full to bursting with his own. Izzy’s thump-two-three, ting-a-ling, whee tunes soon brought him acclaim as the sought-after songwriter Irving Berlin. He ignited the imaginations of fellow countrymen and women with his Broadway and Hollywood numbers, crafting tunes that have become classics we still sing today.

But when darker times came and the nation went to war, it was time for Irving to compose a new kind of song: A song for America. And so “God Bless America” was born, the heart swelling standard that Americans have returned to again and again after its 1918 composition.


Middle Grade Books

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say! by Angela Dominguez

Stella Diaz loves marine animals, especially her betta fish, Pancho. But Stella Diaz is not a betta fish. Betta fish like to be alone, while Stella loves spending time with her mom and brother and her best friend Jenny. Trouble is, Jenny is in another class this year, and Stella feels very lonely.

When a new boy arrives in Stella’s class, she really wants to be his friend, but sometimes Stella accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and pronounces words wrong, which makes her turn roja. Plus, she has to speak in front of her whole class for a big presentation at school! But she better get over her fears soon, because Stella Díaz has something to say!

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

Soledad has always been able to escape into the stories she creates. Just like her mother always could. And Soledad has needed that escape more than ever in the five years since her mother and sister died, and her father moved Sol and her youngest sister from the Philippines to Louisiana. After her father leaves, all Sol and Ming have is their evil stepmother, Vea. Sol has protected Ming all this time, but then Ming begins to believe that Auntie Jove—their mythical, world-traveling aunt—is really going to come rescue them. Can Sol protect Ming from this impossible hope?

The Sky at Our Feet by Nadia Hashimi

Jason has just learned that his Afghan mother has been living illegally in the United States since his father was killed in Afghanistan. Although Jason was born in the US, it’s hard to feel American now when he’s terrified that his mother will be discovered—and that they will be separated. When he sees his mother being escorted from her workplace by two officers, Jason feels completely alone. He boards a train with the hope of finding his aunt in New York City, but as soon as he arrives in Penn Station, the bustling city makes him wonder if he’s overestimated what he can do.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to Louisiana from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” When Apple’s friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show her how special she really is.

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

Aref does not want to leave Oman. He does not want to leave his elementary school, his friends, or his beloved grandfather, Sidi. He does not want to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents will go to graduate school. His mother is desperate for him to pack his suitcase—but he refuses. Finally, she calls Sidi for help. But rather than pack, Aref and Sidi go on a series of adventures. They visit the camp of a thousand stars deep in the desert, they sleep on Sidi’s roof, they fish in the Gulf of Oman and dream about going to India, they travel to the nature reserve to watch the sea turtles. At each stop, Sidi finds a small stone that he later slips into Aref’s suitcase—mementos of home.

Refugee by Alan Gratz

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers — from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.

One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman

It’s hard to start at a new school . . . especially if you’re in a new country. Back home, Anais was the best English student in her class. Here in Crazy America she feels like she doesn’t know English at all. Nothing makes sense (chicken FINGERS?), and the kids at school have some very strange ideas about Africa. Anais misses her family – Papa and grandmother Oma and big brother Olivier because here in Crazy America there’s only little Jean-Claude and Mama. So she writes letters to Oma – lots of them. She tells her she misses her and hopes the fighting is over soon. She tells her about Halloween, snow, mac n cheese dinners, and princess sleepovers. She tells her about the weird things Crazy Americans do, and how she just might be turning into a Crazy American herself.

* For more recommendations, check out this post I wrote for Book Riot in 2016.


New Releases

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

Picture Book New Releases

Food Fight Fiesta: A Tale About La Tomatina by Tracey Kyle, illustrated by Ana Gomez (Sky Pony Press)

Every year, the town of Bu?ol in Spain holds La Tomatina, a grand fiesta featuring the world?s BIGGEST food fight! Join in the fun! Afer putting on goggles and grabbing some squishy tomates, it’s time to toss fruit like there’s no tomorrow. Soon, the entire town is flowing in crimson. Juice flows down ears, drips off noses, runs down ankles, and spreads through toes. And the tomatoes are still flying until . . . BOOM! The cannon is fired, and it’s time to stop for the day, clean up, and go to bed, to dream of all of the fun next year.

Hello School! by Priscilla Burris (Penguin Random House)

A diverse class of excited youngsters are about to start school and experience all its wonders! Small moments like discovering one’s own cubby space and big moments like a first nature walk are all brought to life with inviting artwork. This is a great book to help familiarize children with all the activities they can expect at school, from circle time to snack time to goodbye time, all the while sharing the experiences with lots of great new friends.

Picnic with Oliver by Mika Song (HarperCollins)

The two friends are going on a picnic—but not everything goes as planned. First their cart breaks, and Philbert must find a solution: a bagel wheel! Then Philbert goes sailing and Oliver has to save him from a storm using some equally clever thinking. When trouble is near, Oliver and Philbert help each other. Because that’s what best friends do!

Go Fish! by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Zoe Waring (HarperCollins)

Goose and friends are off to the pond to fish. They have their rods, the perfect bait, and fishing gear—but when they cast their lines and GO FISH, there are NO FISH to be found! Maybe ONE FISH . . . but he’s awfully big!


Chapter Book New Releases

❤ Tale of a Scaredy Dog by Bea Garcia (Penguin Random House)

Bea Garcia is an artist and her favorite subject is Sophie, the smartest dog in the world. Sophie is also Bea Garcia’s best friend ever. They both love peanut butter cookies and hanging out in the crabapple tree in the backyard. They also like to snuggle together and dream of all sorts of adventures. Bea and Sophie also share a strong dislike for Bert, the monster next door. When Bea’s teacher makes her visit Bert for a school assignment, Bea brings Sophie along for extra security and comfort. But even monsters have pets, and Bert has a terrible one: Big Kitty. When Big Kitty attacks, Sophie jumps out a window and sprints away—far from Bea! Bea goes on a frantic search for her best friend but Sophie is nowhere to be found. Will Bea’s best friend ever come home again?

❤ Survivor Diaries: Lost! by Terry Lynn Johnson (HMH Books for Young Readers)

An ancient myth about a statue leads eleven-year-old Carter and twelve-year-old Anna down a trail deep into the Costa Rican jungle. They get turned around, then chased by howler monkeys. Carter and Anna try to find their way back to the familiar path, but the tangle of vines and trees all look the same. They are . . .  lost!

Heartwood Hotel: Home Again by Heartwood Hotel: Home Again (Disney-Hyperion)

It’s summer at the Heartwood Hotel, and everyone is in a flurry getting ready for Ms. Prickles’s wedding to Mr. Quillson! Meanwhile, a new mouse guest named Strawberry comes to stay. She’s sweet and soft-spoken like Mona, and gifted in the kitchen just as Mona’s mother was-could Strawberry be a long-lost relative? But when lightning strikes part of Fernwood Forest and starts a fire, all thoughts go to the guests and staff hurrying to leave to make sure their homes and families are safe. Mona works to protect the Heartwood from harm, but as the fire rages on, it’s becoming dangerous to stay. Can Mona and her friends save their home before it’s too late?


Middle Grade New Releases

❤ Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls: Power Play by Beth McMullen (Aladdin)

Everyone at The Smith School is obsessed with Monster Mayhem, the latest reality video game craze. But when Drexel Caine, the mastermind behind the game is suddenly kidnapped, it becomes clear that the kidnappers are playing for more than just special badges. After Drexel’s son—who is Abby’s friend, Toby—receives a cryptic message, Abby and her friends discover the kidnapping is part of a bigger scheme that could take down The Center for good. With the help of Abby’s frenemy (and reluctant mentor), Veronica Brooks, the group tackles their first official Center Mission.

Stu Truly by Dan Richards (Yellow Jacket)

When Stuart Cornelius Truly first sets eyes on the new girl, Becca, he staples his finger to his seventh-grade history assignment. The second time he sees her, he coughs up a bite of her lunch-a vegetarian roasted pepper sandwich-all over her sweater, and promptly lies, claiming that he, too, is a vegetarian. Their third encounter goes more smoothly, but Stu’s lie turns out to be harder to keep than he expected, especially since his family owns a butcher shop.

Dreaming Dangerous by Lauren DeStefano (Bloomsbury)

Tucked deep in the woods and surrounded by a great iron fence lies Brassmere Academy for the Extraordinary, a school for orphans with strange and wonderful gifts. Twelve-year-old Plum has lived there for as long as she can remember. Each night, she ventures into her dreams alongside her three best friends, Vien, Gwendle, and Artem to fight monsters and journey on dangerous quests. But one night, Plum gets a mysterious warning that she and her friends are no longer safe. And the next morning, Artem is nowhere to be found. As Plum, Vien, and Gwendle search for their friend–in both the dreaming and waking worlds–they start to uncover alarming secrets about Brassmere and its intentions. Will they be able to find Artem before it’s too late, or will they be next to disappear?

Life According to Og the Frog by Betty G. Birney (Penguin Random House)

When Og the Frog first comes to Room 26, he doesn’t know what to think. He misses his friends from the pond, there are all kinds of strange noises, and the water is his tank just might be too clean (you know, a little muck never hurt anyone). But the furry, squeaky fellow living next to him is endlessly entertaining, the kids sure are friendly, and–BING, BANG, BOING!–they put big fat crickets right into his tank. All of this gives Og lots of ideas for one of his favorite passtimes–making up poems and songs. But he gets stumped when talk turns to sending him back to the pond. Will he have to say good-bye to Tabitha whose whole life just changed like his? Or Mandy who just started seeing the bright side of things with his help? And Humphrey, who he’s finally beginning to figure out?

❤ Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin (HarperCollins)

When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren’t there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time. With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations. But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

Thrilling Thieves: Liars, Cheats, and Cons Who Changed History by Brianna DuMont (Sky Pony Press)

Follow the trail of twelve troublemakers to learn what really made the Mona Lisa the most iconic painting in the world, meet the most powerful pirate from history (it’s probably not who you’re expecting), and watch empires rise and fall with the theft of a simple tea plant. Turns out our world owes a lot to those who dabble on the dark side.

Margot and Mateo Save the World by Darcy Miller (HarperCollins)

When Margot Blumenthal removes a bright blue slug alien attached to Mateo Flores’s back, the school play co-stars know it’s definitely not going to be a regular day at West Cove Middle School. They reluctantly team up and soon discover that the mayor and countless other adults, including Mateo’s dad, are infected—which means that West Cove, and possibly all of Earth, is in danger. What will they (and their new scientist friend) do? Ditch class and protect humankind, of course—because one unexcused absence doesn’t matter when the world is at stake!

Once Upon a Slime by Andy Maxwell, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill (Little, Brown)

Once upon a time--gloooooooorp! Ew, gross! Who slimed Goldilocks? Was it the Three Bears, exacting revenge? Not a chance! They’re next on the list of fairy-tale sliming victims! Red Riding Hood, the Wolf, Rapunzel, the Three Pigs…they’re all under attack. Who could be the mastermind behind this icky, sticky plan? Young detectives can look for clues and solve the mystery in this picture book whodunnit that’s positively oozing with wit and charm, perfect for fans of Patrick McDonnell’s A Perfectly Messed-Up Story.

❤ Ocean: A Visual Miscellany by Ricardo Henriques and Andre Letria (Chronicle)

Half of our planet is covered by the ocean, yet we’ve only explored 5 percent of this vast underwater realm. Originally published in Portugal, and awarded a highly coveted BolognaRagazzi Mention by the Bologna Book Fair, this visually compelling miscellany offers readers a tsunami of aquatic facts. Which ocean is the largest? Who was the first explorer to sail around the world? Is the ocean truly blue?

Star Wars Maker Lab by Liz Lee Heinecke and Cole Horton (DK Publishing)

With 20 amazing projects, Star Wars™ Maker Lab teaches your budding Padawan how to become a Master of science, in both the real world and the Star Wars galaxy. Using clear step-by-step instructions, the book guides home scientists and makers through each exciting experiment–from making Jabba’s gooey slime or a hovering landspeeder, to an Ewok catapult and a glowing Gungan Globe of Peace. Each experiment has fact-filled panels to explain the real-world science as well as the Star Wars science fiction from the movies.

Flor and Miranda Steal the Show by Jennifer Torres is a sweet middle grade story that takes place all in one day and written in two points of view. It’s a great summer friendship story!

I loved Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker, and the second book, Beatrice Zinker, Incognito, in the series is just as funny. Author Shelley Johannes’ illustrations are so charming and full of life!

The new Princess in Black book is set during a science fair. When a run-of-the-mill erupting volcano experiment reveals a hidden monster living inside the volcano, the Princess in Black (and her friends) need to save the day.


Before I leave you, I have exciting news to share! We are bumping up The Kids Are All Right newsletter to two emails per week, meaning you’ll be receiving double the amount of bookish kid lit goodness. On Sundays I’ll be sharing themed book lists, and on Tuesdays I’ll send a round-up of new releases. Thanks for subscribing and for sharing the kid lit love!

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!

Nala examining the book mail I received after a week away.

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

Today In Books

Survey Shows Decline in Leisure Reading: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by REMIND ME AGAIN WHAT HAPPENED by Joanna Luloff.

Survey Says, Decline In Leisure Reading

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest American Time Use Survey, the share of Americans who read for pleasure has fallen by more than 30% since 2004. The survey results also showed a higher drop in pleasure reading among men versus women. The article notes that the data doesn’t bear out the theory that the recent proliferation of computers, cellphones, video games, etc are to blame for the decline.

Harlan Ellison Has Died

The controversial speculative fiction writer passed away yesterday, at 84 years old. Ellison won numerous Hugos, Nebulas, and Edgars for his work, which included A Boy and His Dog. He contributed to TV series including The Outer Limits, Star Trek and Babylon 5. He participated in the Selma marches, but he was also infamous for being difficult to work with and litigious.

Become A Wizarding Prefect

And, like a prefect, do it for free. The North Yorkshire Moors Historical Railways Trust posted a vacancy for a Goathland Station, AKA Hogsmeade Station, volunteer wizarding prefect. Lead muggles on tours around the station and brandish your knowledge of the wizarding world.

Unusual Suspects

A Book That Deliciously Lives Up To Its Wicked Title

Hi mystery fans!

Sponsored by Pegasus Books’ Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver

In small-town Virginia in August 1945, Jay Greenwood leads twelve-year-old tomboy Ceola Bliss and local socialite Bunny Prescott to a stretch of woods where he claims to have found a dead woman. But when they arrive, the body is gone. Ceola gets swept up playing girl detective, but Bunny becomes increasingly skeptical of Jay and begins her own investigation. She journeys to Washington, D.C., where she is forced to confront the brutal truth about her dear friend—a discovery that triggers a series of events that will bring tragedy to Jay and decades of estrangement between her and Ceola.

Let’s start with a Little Q&A: Oyinkan Braithwaite (I give authors I’m excited about six questions and let them answer any three they’d like.)

cover image: young black woman wearing sunglasses and a tan scarf wrap around hair.I’m going to be a little mean and RAVE about a novel that doesn’t come out until November 20th because it’s so good–SO GOOD–that it’s totally worth a pre-order and deserves all the mountain-top shouting! So if you don’t already have My Sister, The Serial Killer on your radar you should! Not only does it deliciously live up to its wicked title, it’s also a very smart exploration of women’s issues as Korede’s defense of sister Ayoola’s murderous ways is put to the test when they both set eyes on the same man… I read this in one sitting and can’t wait to read it again–and for all of you to read it!

And here’s Oyinkan Braithwaite:

If you were forced to live the rest of your life as one of your characters who would it be? All my characters have major issues…but if I had to choose, I would choose to live as Ayoola – at least she seems to be having a good time!

If you adapted a well-known book into a Clue mystery what would be the solve? This was harder than I thought: Dorothy, red shoes, on the yellow brick road.

 If you were to blurb your most recent/upcoming book (à la James Patterson)? Every young woman should read this book. And every non-young woman. It’ll change your life. And then read it to your pets. No animals were harmed in the making of this book.


This book is the first debut to be written by a black Nigerian female millennial with a chicken pox scar in the middle of her forehead. There will never be another of its kind! Get it while hot!

Thank you, Oyinkan!

From Book Riot and Around the Internet

cover image: jean pocket with a pink heart pin that says undead girl gangOn the latest Read or Dead Rincey and Katie talk recent news and the phrases that will automatically have them picking up a book.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes That Were Actually Written By Doyle

4 Crime Novels for Armchair Travelers

Here are some TV characters I’d love to end up in novels as PIs.

New hope in mystery of James Bond’s missing Aston Martin

News and Adaptations

cover image: graphic image of a black teen holding a sign with the book titleThe trailer for Angie Thomas’s adaptation of The Hate U Give is here! The novel follows Starr Carter after she witnesses a friend shot by police and the fallout.

Sheena Kamal’s The Lost Ones has won the 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Mystery.

I mustache if you’d like to see the first look at John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot from the upcoming The ABC Murders BBC/Amazon adaptation? (Ha, sorry couldn’t resist!) Since this will surely start off many debates about what his mustache should look like here are a bunch of descriptions Agatha Christie wrote regarding his facial hair: Great Moments of Poirot’s Moustache 

Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door–which starts like a ripped from the headlines child abduction story–is being adapted into a TV series.

And also getting a TV series is Jessica Knoll’s The Favorite Sister which “features two sisters whose lifelong sibling rivalry explodes in the crucible of a reality TV show, leaving one of them murdered.”

Watch Now

Now in theaters: The Catcher Was a Spy, adapted from Nicolas Dawidoff’s same titled biography, stars Paul Rudd as the real life Major League baseball player who was also a WWII spy. See the trailer here.

Kindle Deals

cover image: white woman in white dress floating in water zoomed in from waist to shinsThe Drowning (Fjällbacka #6) by Camilla Lackberg is $1.99 (Swedish crime)

The Red Road (Alex Morrow Book 4) by Denise Mina is $2.99 (Mina is a good pick for Tana French fans)

And looks like most of Alex Segura’s Pete Fernandez series is on sale: Silent City is $1.99; Down the Darkest Street is .99cents; Dangerous Ends is $4.99

A Bit Of My Week In Reading

Look at that pretty bookmail! #FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar; Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou; The Guilty Dead (Monkeewrench #9) by P.J. Tracy;  The Confession by Jo Spain

cover image: a young native american woman in a leather jacket holding a sword standing on top of a pickup truck with a young man inside and lightning in the sky behindAs for currently reading I’m actually in the middle of a mystery “palate cleanser and reading 3 awesome things: Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse;  No. 1 with a Bullet by Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona; Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older (Crime may be my genre but sometimes I need monster hunters, awesome comic art, and dinosaurs!)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. And here’s an Unusual Suspects Pinterest board.

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

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own you can sign up here.

True Story

Diverse Summer Nonfiction Recommendations!

Hello, True Story readers! After a crazy few months at my day job, I’m taking a vacation “up North,” as we say here in Minnesota, for a week at my parent’s cabin in Wisconsin. I’ve got an entire bag devoted just to books (and another one for booze), which seems just about right for a full week off the grid. I cannot wait.

Just for Book Riot readers: sign up for an Audible account, and get two audiobooks free!

Truthfully, most of the books I’m bringing along are fiction. I love fantasy and young adult novels for reading by the beach, mostly because I don’t have to pay attention as carefully as I do otherwise. But never fear, a couple of memoirs have made their way to the stack – Don’t You Ever by Mary Carter Bishop (July 3 from Harper) and Stalking God by Anjali Kumar.

But before I am off on vacation, some bookish news and some new books for late June and early July:

Bookish has collected this summer’s must-read nonfiction, a pretty wide-ranging list of titles that includes everything from “a thriller-like trip to Shanghai” to “a heart-wrenching illness memoir.” I am not as on top of my 2018 nonfiction reading as I’d like to be, but several on this list are on my TBR.

If you want to add some more diversity to your summer reading, the African American Intellectual History Society put together a list of recommended nonfiction that “offer(s) valuable insights on the Black experience in the United States and across the globe.” I love that many of these are from small or university presses because that means they’ve probably slipped under my radar. Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper is on my shelf, and History Teaches Us to Resist by Mary Frances Berry just got added to the list.

Still not sure what nonfiction to read this summer? A few more general summer reading lists also have some nonfiction sections that might help:

Finally, a few upcoming titles to keep your eyes open for:

Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin (June 26 from William Morrow) – A collection focused on “illuminating the widespread obsession with women who are abused, killed, and disenfranchised, and whose bodies (dead and alive) are used as props to bolster men’s stories.” A couple readers I trust have highlighted this one, so I am in.

Empress by Ruby Lal (July 3 from W.W. Norton) – I’m obsessed with reading about queens, but need to branch out beyond Europe. Empress is a biography of Nur Jahan, who in 1611 married an emperor, becoming his partner and most cherished wife. Sold!

City of Devils by Paul French (July 3 from Picador) – I’m in the middle of this one, and so far really enjoying it. It’s a nice mash-up of history and true crime, all about the two gang leaders who ruled the underground scene in Shanghai in the lead up to World War II. The first section is written in a sort of 1930s newspaper style, which takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s fun.

And with that, I’m out for vacation – look for a guest editor of this newsletter next week! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot. Happy reading!

Today In Books

CURSED CHILD West Coast Premiere: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by One of NPR’s Best Books of the Year, Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory, new in paperback from Vintage Books.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Sets West Coast Premiere

The Tony Award-winning play will premiere on the West Coast at the historic Curran in San Francisco. The play premiered in New York this year; it’s in its third year of performances in London, and a Melbourne, Australia production is planned for early 2019. Details on dates, purchasing tickets, and casting will be announced in the coming months.

Royal Society of Literature Works To Address Historical Biases

The Royal Society of Literature just appointed 40 new writing fellows under the age of 40. The RSL decided to bring in a new generation of fellows through their 40 Under 40 initiative in order to step away from its “overwhelmingly white, male, metropolitan and middle class” history. The names chosen were almost three-quarters female, with 30% from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Prior to the initiative, only three of the 523 fellows were under 40 (the article doesn’t mention how many were from marginalized communities, but I can guess the number).

Midnight’s Children Set As Netflix TV Series

Netflix is adapting Salman Rushdie’s postcolonial novel of magical realism, Midnight’s Children, for a series. The book about India’s transition to independence was previously adapted as a Canadian-British film directed by Deepa Mehta in 2013. No word yet on a release date or casting.


Win the Best Beach Reads of 2018!

It’s here. The height of summer reading season. Hammocks. Beaches. Porches. Benches along rivers. That sort of thing.

And to celebrate we are giving away our 11 favorite beach reads of 2018. And in true Book Riot style, these aren’t exactly stereotypical beach reads. More of…well just great books that you might want to read while it happens to be summer. Go check out the the titles you could win here: The Best 2018 Beach Reads.

Go here to enter for your chance to win, or just click on the fancy image below. Good luck!

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Jun 29

Happy Friday, demigods and dragonriders! Today I’m reviewing Dark Mirror by Diane Duane, Silver Silence and Ocean Light by Nalini Singh, and bringing you exciting LEGO news, the Locus Awards, sci-fi greats, and more.

This newsletter is sponsored by Penguin Teen and Warcross by Marie Lu.

A steel gray and blue cover with a 3D version of WARCROSS in the centerFor the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Emika’s thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

The Locus Awards are in! There aren’t a lot of surprises this year — all these authors are well-known and acclaimed for good reasons — but there are a few that were off my radar. I need to pick up The Book of Swords sooner rather than later!

Who are the best sci-fi authors? Erika has nominated eight. Using her criteria, my personal list has to include Ursula Le Guin and Yoon Ha Lee, but these are a reasonable start.

Need more Latinx authors in your life? This list of SF/F authors has some of my favorites (Malka Older! Carmen Maria Machado!), and some I need to bump up on my TBR.

You definitely need more indigenous authors to read, and author Rebecca Roanhorse is here to recommend some. You should read her too! Trail of Lightning is out now, and getting rave reviews.

You know what else you need? HARRY POTTER LEGOS.

How would you die on Game of Thrones? Our quiz will tell you! I was blown up at the Sept of Baylor, RIP me.

A Discovery of Witches still doesn’t have a US air date or platform (bidding war???), but you can watch the trailer.

And now in reviews, I give you dolphin scientists and dolphin changelings!

Dark Mirror (Star Trek: The Next Generation) by Diane Duane

two Picards shown side by side, one with an evil look on his face and one friendlySo you want to be a starship captain? Yes, that Diane Duane wrote a ST:NG novel, and it is a delight. It also has the distinction of being the first and only Star Trek franchise I have ever read. I’m not necessarily opposed, but franchises are among my least-read sub-genres (I think I’ve read something like five of the Star Wars ones, and nothing of any others that I can recall).

Duane uses the plot of the ST:TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror” as her starting point. Picard’s Enterprise is exploring a quiet quadrant of space when they get sucked into an alternate, morally-inverted universe. Thanks to a visiting scientist (who is also a dolphin, and one of my all-time favorite new characters), the crew discovers this sooner rather than later and have just enough time to hatch a plan to thwart their evil selves. Of course, nothing every goes to plan…

I found this in a Little Free Library in my neighborhood and grabbed it on a whim, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. Janeway is the captain of my heart but Picard is the captain of my childhood, and it was lovely to be reunited with the crew of the NCC 1701-D. Duane clearly loves the characters herself, and inhabits them well. It’s funny, it’s gripping, and it balances female and male, human and alien characters nicely. Even better, when skimpy outfits are involved, both the men and the women are subject to them! And Duane has written several other Star Trek novels, which I will be attempting to get my hands on as soon as possible. This, it turns out, might be how I want to spend my summer.

Silver Silence and Ocean Light (Psy-Changeling Trinity #1 and #2) by Nalini Singh

If you’re listening to SFF Yeah!, you might recall that I talked about the Psy-Changeling series in Episode 11. It’s my all-time favorite paranormal romance series, but it’s a tough one to come to late — there are more than a dozen books currently, and Singh shows no signs of stopping (thankfully). Happily, as mentioned on a recent All the Books episode, the new installments in what Singh is referring to as “Psy-Changeling Season 2”, formally called the Psy-Changeling Trinity, are perfect jumping-on points.

a photo collage of a city skyline and a man and woman's faces in silhouette, all various shades of red

The world of the series contains three races: the mentally super-powered Psy, the shapeshifting Changelings, and “vanilla” humans. The Psy have spent years in what they call Silence, barring themselves from feeling any emotions whatsoever in a search for ultimate efficiency. This has backfired conclusively, including breeding dangerous serial killers and psychopaths, and now the Psy are divided between those who want to heal and feel, and those who refuse to abandon Silence. The Changelings have been mostly concerned with protecting their own, but are starting to become more enmeshed with the Psy and humans, and the humans are trying to hold their own against the paranormal abilities of the Psy and Changelings. It’s a political and personal mess — but love might be able to save the day.

a photo collage of a city skyline and a man and woman, all in shades of yellow and goldIn Silver Silence and Ocean Light we get two cross-species romances: Psy/Changeling, and Changeling/human, respectively. While the cast of characters will be familiar to those who have been reading along, Singh takes great care to introduce new clans, characters, and plot elements, without belaboring or neglecting the backstory. They move the overall story forward while standing alone nicely, and I for one am delighted that we have finally gotten an underwater installment! Highly recommended if you want steamy, emotionally satisfying stories set in a beautifully imagined alternate Earth.

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.

Your fellow booknerd,

Today In Books

The Academy of Motion Pictures Welcomes J. K. Rowling: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Litworld Publishing House. Get Patch 17 for FREE today by clicking the cover below:

Author, Can You Spare a Dime? (No, They Cannot)

I don’t think any clear-eyed person decides to become an author in order to accumulate obscene wealth. But as it turns out, it’s almost impossible to eke out a living by writing alone. A new report by the UK nonprofit Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society says that professional writers have a median income of under £10,500 a year, or $13,774. And like their counterparts across all industries, women authors are earning just 75% of what men get.

J. K. Rowling Gets Her Letter

Authors in the UK have another reason to envy outlier J. K. Rowling: she just got invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures in the Writer category. She joins 927 other new members, 49% of whom are female. But my favorite stat about the new class? The new additions mean the people of color in the Academy have doubled since 2015…to 16% of overall membership. It’s a low bar, but we need something to celebrate.

First Look at Kristen Wiig in “Wonder Woman 1984”

More film adaptation news! It’s the teensiest of sneak peeks, but director Patty Jenkins shared a photo of Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva, aka Wonder Woman villain the Cheetah. She’s shown in a museum, wearing an outfit I am sure my mild-mannered mom had back then, so we’ll have to wait for a more Cheetah-licious lewk later.



Trevor Noah Talks Audiobooks, and More Audiobook News

Happy Thursday, audiobook fans!

Greetings from Oklahoma! I’m writing this on Tuesday from the great state of Oklahoma–-I’m here because I’m working on a documentary about medical cannabis and the state is voting on a medical cannabis bill today. By the time you read this, we’ll know what happened! Time! It’s wild! Sorry, I’m a little punchy. Sleep hasn’t been much of a thing for me recently. But, as my 10th grade English teacher (shout out to Mr. Faggi!), AVANTI!

Just for Book Riot readers: sign up for an Audible account, and get two audiobooks free!

Trevor Noah’s audiobook, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, was chosen for Newark, New Jersey’s first citywide high school listening club. First, it’s just freaking awesome that the city created a high school listening club. I love that so much. And I think this is an excellent choice to introduce (or further expose) teens to the delights of audiobooks. If you haven’t listened to Born a Crime, I strongly recommend adding it to your list.

In an interview with CBS News, Noah talked about the power of the spoken word. “What I loved seeing how different people connect with the story when it is spoken to them. I’ve always been a storyteller. I come from a culture of storytellers. And so to have my book as part of the curriculum but as an audiobook is a completely different way for learners to learn not just about my story but also about South Africa’s story. A story of belonging, a story of segregation, a story of overcoming a lot of those obstacles.”

This storytelling prowess obviously helped Noah in his path to The Daily Show but it also helped him narrate the audiobook. In fact, narrating it gave him a new appreciation for his own words. He told CBS This Morning, “It forced me to visualize everything. When you’re writing a book, you’re in the words. You see the words, and you think through in a different way. When you’re performing the audiobook, I think the reason this became the biggest selling audiobook on Audible was because I poured my heart and soul in it…. I spent hours and hours going back (to the studio) for weeks,” he said. “I remembered each person in such a vivid way because I had to embody them for the story.”

The high school students of Newark, New Jersey are in for a treat (and so are you if you haven’t listened to Born a Crime yet!)

More Audiobook News

A new study claims that “audiobooks are better at eliciting an emotional response than movies or TV.” The University College of London (partnering with Audible) had “102 participants listen to or watch gripping scenes from eight major books: Alien by Alan Dean Foster, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and The Silence of the Lambs by Richard Harris. The audiobook scenes raised pulses, body temperatures, and the skin’s electrical conductance higher than corresponding scenes from film and TV adaptations. However, The Guardian notes that ‘participants reported that the videos were ‘more engaging’ than the audiobooks by about 15% on average.’”

I very much want to make my friend Emily who did not cry at the end of The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie. I won’t reveal any spoilers, I’ll just say that I had read the book before seeing the movie and was therefore prepared for the emotional stuff at the end of the movie and still SOBBED LIKE A BABY. The first thing I had to do when I got home from the movie was throw my sweatshirt in the wash because the sleeve was covered in my snot and tears. But Emily? Didn’t shed a single tear. I’m wondering if that would be different if she listened to the audiobook or if she is really, truly dead inside (I’m 99% sure she doesn’t read this newsletter, but I guess I’ll find out for sure after this!)

Which audiobooks have made you the most emotional? What m Let me know (or just say hi!) on twitter at msmacb or at

The new Apple Books redesign will have a dedicated Audiobooks tab as well as a feature that lets users keep track of their audiobook listening progress. Via MobileSyrup

Buzzfeed contributor Maris Kreizman outlines some of her favorite author-narrated audiobooks. Via Buzzfeed

In a similar vein, Bustle has a list of “11 New Books That Are Even Better as Audiobooks.” Notice that David Sedaris’ “Calypso” made both this and the Buzzfeed list? I may have to add this to my TBR list–-I do enjoy some good Sedaris Snark.

Roadtripping this summer? The Manual offers some thoughts on the “12 Best Audiobooks for Road Trips” and Bustle has a list of “9 New Audiobooks For Road Trips To Keep You Entertained On The Long Drives Of Summer.”

Happy listening and until next week,