In The Club

In the Club – 04/01

Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed. It is baking central over here at Casa Diaz: baking by myself, baking with friends, baking all the time! I recently discovered that doing so with friends would make a lovely book club date in this time of separation. Grab your aprons, people of the club: it’s time to get your hands dirty (and your Zoom app loaded).

To the club!!

Nibbles and Sips – The Book Club that Bakes

Fellow Riot staffers Hannah and Sharifah and I engaged in our very own Great British Bake Off this weekend, but American, done via Zoom, and sans the delight that is Mary Berry. Hannah made some tasty-looking cheddar chive biscuits while Sharifah and I made these scrumptious blueberry muffins, or in my case a cake since I discovered way late in the game (2 min before bake off) that I don’t own muffin tins. Whoops! We then fixed ourselves some cocktails while our creations baked away in the oven and sat down for a lovely chat.

This made me think that I’d like to try this with book club. You know I love something to nosh on during book chat, and what fun to prep a little something “together” before discussion ensues.

Some tips:

  • It doesn’t have to be a sweet dish or even a bake at all! Cook if that’s more of your lane (as is usually the case for me).
  • Pick an easy recipe. Go low on complicated ingredients since grocery shopping is something most of us are doing with far less frequency these days. Maybe even make something with stuff you already have at home.
  • You don’t all have to make the same thing! It’s more about time, so pick something that won’t take 15 hours to make. For us, a 20-ish minute prep + 20-ish minute bake worked perfectly for an optimal bake-to-chat ratio, plus extra time to talk while we ate the fruits of our efforts.

First We Bake, Then We Book 

And now for some books recs. Pick your mood!

Bunny by Mona AwadHit Me With a “WTF Did I Just Read?” BookBunny by Mona Awad – I’ve been meaning to read this for awhile. Imagine if Mean Girls was darker and more of a bloodbath—fun! Set it in an elite MFA program, make it hella nightmarish and gory, and you might get something that looks a little like this.

Someone Give Me Facts to Calm My Mind: The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humankind’s Gravest Dangers by Dr. Ali Khan – If you need some facts and a little history on pandemics (and what we keep getting wrong when dealign with them), try this account of the fight to contain the world’s deadliest diseases.

I Wanna Know What Love Is: Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – If romance is the Band Aid you need for your anxious soul, try this Book Riot fave! What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? You’ll just have to read to find out.

Wondering If Anyone Else Is Just Barely Keeping It Together: Weather by Jenny Offill – I just saw Amanda rave about this on Instagram and it feels like a book I need to put in someone’s hand. A progressive’s middle class mom tries to thread the needle between saving the world and paying the bills, getting food on the table, and making sure the kids are doing their homework. How do you deal with both the big giant problems of the world while dealing with your personal sh*t too?

I Gotta Laugh to Keep from Crying: Gross Anatomy by Mara Altman – I recommend this whenever someone tells me they need to laugh. It’s all about “finding greatness in our grossness,” holding up a magnifying glass to our beliefs and biases involving women’s bodies. Why do we feel like we have to pluck, tweeze, and wax every surface of our skin? Why is boob cleavage cool but a camel toe revolting? Why do we treat sweating like it’s not a normal thing we all do? Mara asks all of these questions and then attempts to answer them with uproarious candor.

Suggestion Section

Dios mios, y’all! This book club thing you and I have been doing is all the rage now that many of us are stuck indoors. Here are just a few of the many, many links out there on online book clubs (and some of the usual announcement stuff too).

How book clubs are enduring and flourishing during Covid-19 (The Guardian)

All Your Favorite Celebs Are Launching Book Clubs (In Style)

10 Virtual Book Clubs You Can Join Now—And How to Start Your Own (Time)

Read on: the best Instagram book clubs to follow (The Evening Standard)

Los Angeles Times Book Club is back, virtually, with L.A. noir authors like Joe Ide and Steph Cha! (LA Times)

Daily distraction: Video book club meeting with mystery writer Sujata Massey (Twin Cities)

Jenna Bush Hager announces April 2020 book club pick (Today)

In Five Years Is Marie Claire’s April Book Club Pick (Marie Claire)

Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at with your burning book club questions or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the Audiobooks newsletter, get it on the Read Harder podcast, and watch me booktube every Tuesday and Friday too.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.

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


TBR Link Update

Hello, readers!

We hope this email finds you safe, well, and surrounded by snacks and good reading material.

We’re excited to share that from here on, all book titles in your TBR profiles and recommendation letters now link to the website of Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME.

The folks at Print do amazing work fulfilling all of the TBR hardcover subscriptions, and we are so grateful for their partnership. As indie bookstores continue to feel the impact of COVID-19, we encourage you to consider Print when you’re purchasing books from your TBR recommendations, your personal TBR list, or as gifts.

Print is currently offering free shipping on all orders of $20 or more. Prefer ebooks or audiobooks? They’ve got you covered too! Get your first audiobook (delivered by the rad for just 99 cents, or treat your future shelf by purchasing a Print gift certificate now.

Read on, and wash your hands.

Team TBR

Unusual Suspects

April Releases 🔪

Hi mystery fans! The decade that was March is finally over and I am here to put a bunch of April releases on your radar. I’m doing my best to keep track and note when publishing dates change (this is going to happen a lot due to the current circumstances), but some books may fall through the cracks so be patient with me–and publishing. Now to get our mystery on! (📚= I’ve read and recommend; 📖= currently reading and enjoying.)

The Silence of Bones by June Hur: 📖 Here’s a historical mystery I’m really enjoying. It’s set in the 1800 Joseon dynasty and follows sixteen-year-old Seol who is indentured to a young inspector trying to solve a politically charged murder of a noblewoman–a law doesn’t allow men to touch women they’re not related to, so Seol must do female arrests and move female bodies.

Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell: The author of A Simple Favor has a new family drama thriller to inhale with some devious sounding ladies!

Death of an American Beauty (Jane Prescott #3) by Mariah Fredericks: 📖 One of my favorite historical mysteries is back. Set in early 1900s New York and following lady’s maid Jane Prescott. This series has a great balance of mystery and interesting historical moments with a great lead character.

No Going Back (Nora Watts #3) by Sheena Kamal: If you’re a fan of the “unlikable” ladies, PIs, and mysteries that have intense scenes, and thriller endings you should definitely be following Nora Watts, the human lie detector whose past is always just around the corner.

The Paris Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe: Have you ever read some of the Edgar Allan Poe short stories that have been credited with inventing the detective genre? Now’s your chance!

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier: The Jar of Hearts author is back with a new thriller! What happens when a mother finds out her husband is having an affair with the woman who may have kidnapped her son?!

The Law of Lines by Hye-Young Pyun, Sora Kim-Russell (Translator): From the author of the slow-burn horror novel The Hole! A daughter doesn’t believe inspectors that an explosive fire was a suicide so she sets out to find the culprit and get revenge!

Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia: The author of Leave No Trace is back with another thriller! This time we have a forensic accountant who tracks down thieves tasked with finding stolen prize money–expect secrets and twists!

Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh: 📖 A suspense novel that feels like a stream of conscious (so far at least) about an elderly woman walking her dog who finds a cryptic note: “Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.”

He Started It by Samantha Downing: 📚 From the author of My Lovely Wife! A wickedly fun ride! And the only print read recently to hold my attention and help me escape. Three siblings must retrace the road trip they took with their grandad as kids with his ashes in order to get their inheritance. They’re all a-holes, there are stipulations like you can’t get arrested, and you better believe there are secrets! (This still has an April release date on Goodreads/Amazon but PRH site is showing July 28.) (TW past partner abuse discussed/ discussion of pedophile, not detailed nor graphic)

After She Wrote Him by Sulari Gentill: This sounds like an inventive mindfork of the mystery genre. Madeleine d’Leon is writing a book about the fictional character Edward McGinnity but Edward McGinnity has just come up with his next book lead: Madeleine d’Leon. So who is the author and who is the created character?…

Shooting Down Heaven by Jorge Franco, Andrea Rosenberg (Translator): I’m really excited about this novel which follows a group of now adults who were raised in the ’90s by Colombias most dangerous drug cartels.

The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown: The only psychiatrist in a small Ohio town dies leaving his daughter to solve the mystery of his crash, starting with why the homecoming queen is at his funeral…

Final Judgment (Samantha Brinkman #4) by Marcia Clark: The newest in  this lawyer behaving like a private eye mystery series perfect for fans of fun and entertaining legal shows. (Yes, that Marcia Clark.)

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram #1) by Darynda Jones: Here’s a romantic mystery with a hunky US Marshall, kidnapper on the loose, and a returned-to-small-town elected sheriff, set in New Mexico!

The Split by Sharon J. Bolton: Author of The Craftsman is back with a standalone thriller! A woman hiding from her ex, just released from prison, is afraid that even on the remote island South Georgia she can’t stay hidden and safe…

The Closer You Get by Mary Torjussen: The author of Gone Without A Trace is back with a psychological suspense! Coworkers fall in love and decide to leave their spouses for each other, but only one shows up at their meeting place. And then weird things start to happen…

Barker House by David Moloney: A novel that follows a bunch of correctional officers over the course of one year in New Hampshire.

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See 2020 upcoming releases. An Unusual Suspects Pinterest board. Get Tailored Book Recommendations!

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

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

True Story

New Releases: Samantha Irby, Ancient History, and More

New releases to soothe the soul! Books are still coming out, and some author events have pivoted to virtual ones, so check out your favorite author’s social media to see if you can attend an event you normally might not have been able to. This week has some excellent new releases, check ’em out:

Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic by Eric Eyre. A David vs. Goliath battle! This starts with a story you might have heard of: there was a pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia, that distributed 12 million opioid pain pills in three years to a town with a population of 382 people. Yes. You read that correctly. Author Eyre’s local paper was the smallest newspaper ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, and it broke the story. Read if you want to immerse yourself in a fight for justice.

More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys. Keys is a musician, activist, singer, composer, actress and pianist. She got a record deal by age 15 and won 5 Grammys by 21. In her new memoir, she talks about growing up in Hell’s Kitchen in the ’80s, her early exposure to jazz, and how she came to cut through all the noise surrounding her and discover who she really was.



Empire of the Black Sea: The Rise and Fall of the Mithridatic World by Duane W. Roller. Yeah, like I’m letting you all off without some in-depth nerdy-as-all-get-out history book. What is the Mithridatic world? I didn’t know! But I looked it up and I’ll tell you it has to do with the ancient world around 100 BCEish, and the kingdom of Pontos! There they were, holding out against the might of the Romans, until…*pause*….they did not. If you want to feel the dramatic suspense and noble despair of a lost cause while sitting in your living room, here you go.

wow no thank youWow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby. We stan a new Samantha Irby release. Who doesn’t want to be whisked away from their cares and set directly into essays like “Girls Gone Mild” and “Late-1900s Time Capsule”? Irby’s writing is a balm unto these weary times. Maybe if we all tweet affirmations at her, she’ll write another one real fast.



Stay inside if you can, nonfictionites. Wash your hands, Clorox-wipe your phone, and read read read (while also taking a break to prevent eye strain!). If you are so inclined, check out COVID-19 Updates from the Bookish World. As always, you can find me on Twitter @itsalicetime and co-hosting the For Real podcast with Kim here at Book Riot. Until next time! Enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.

Today In Books

Dolly Parton Will Read To Us: Today In Books

Dolly Parton Will Read To Us

The national treasure Dolly Parton will read children’s books once a week on her video series GoodNight With Dolly. The first episode will be Thursday, April 2nd at 7pm. The series will stream for the next 10 weeks on the Imagination Library’s site and social media accounts. Gonna be watching this on a forever loop.

National Emergency Library Not So Great

After many articles and social media love went to the Internet Archive’s announcement that it was expanding access to a million+ digitized works in its “National Emergency Library,” it turns out they don’t actually have the rights or permission to many of the works. “‘The problem with bypassing copyright and disrupting the chain of royalties that lead from books to authors is that it endangers our ability to continue to produce art — and though we are all in the midst of a crisis, most artists are on the razor’s edge in terms of being able to support themselves,’ he [Chuck Wendig] added. ‘Artists get no safety net.'”

In Sad News

Tomie dePaola, author and illustrator of almost 300 books, has passed away at the age of 85. He was best known for his 1975 children’s book Strega Nona, about a gentle Italian witch.

What's Up in YA

YA Book News and YA Book Releases This Week

Hey YA Pals:

Another week has come and gone, and it’s another week that we’ll be light on news. But the news that is here isn’t especially light — it’s some big stuff.

I hope you’re staying healthy and well and that you’re finding comfort and ease where you can. Remember if you’re not reading right now, you’re not any less a reader. You’re a human processing incredible trauma and change. That’s okay.

YA Book News

New YA Books This Week

A * means it’s a book I’ve read and recommend!

Almost, Maine by John Cariani (a novel take on the play)

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke (paperback)

Hello Now by Jenny Valentine

Imagine Me by Tahereh Mafi (next in series!)

Look by Zan Romanoff

The Me I Meant To Be by Sophie Jordan (paperback)

Music From Another World by Robin Talley

Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa (series)

Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke

*We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia

*We Are The Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian (don’t miss the Hey YA: Extra Credit episode where we talk about how great Shug by Jenny Han is!)

The Year After You by Nina de Pass

YA Talk at Book Riot This Week


This isn’t YA related at all, but I love, love, love this series by artist Lim Heng See, wherein he hides illustrations of cats among natural landscapes. Some of these took me a while to find.

Thanks for hanging out, y’all, and prepare to pick up a ton of ebooks on the cheap Saturday when we’ll be back in your inbox.

Stay well.

— Kelly Jensen, @heykellyjensen on Instagram and editor of (Don’t) Call Me Crazy and Here We Are.


The Stack




Riot Rundown


Check Your Shelf

Book Expo Without the Big Five, Plus TONS of Audiobook Recs

Welcome to Check Your Shelf, which is once again being brought to you from quarantine. I’m taking regular walks, working from home, and listening to a lot of Mumford & Sons.

Here’s a list of Book Riot’s ongoing COVID-19 coverage. And here’s a list of some of the good news related to COVID-19 that you probably haven’t read about.

Also, I have a redaction from the last issue of CYS. I posted a link from LitHub about the National Emergency Library created by the Internet Archive, which offers access to over 1 million eBooks. What I didn’t realize was that a good portion of this library includes titles by authors who did not consent to sharing their titles. The Authors Guild has written a statement against the the Internet Archive, which you can read here. The original article I linked to has since been taken down, but I wanted to officially redact that last link, and ask that we as library employees do not use or recommend this resource. I deeply apologize to any authors who might have been hurt by me sharing this article.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

New & Upcoming Titles

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

RA/Genre Resources

All Things Comics

On the Riot


On the Riot

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists



On the Riot

Level Up (Library Reads

Do you take part in LibraryReads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? We’ve made it easy for you to find eligible diverse titles to nominate. Kelly Jensen created a database of upcoming diverse books that anyone can edit, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word is doing the same, as well as including information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

Sending virtual hugs to anyone who wants them. Stay safe, healthy, and relatively sane.

Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently re-reading The Likeness by Tana French.