Check Your Shelf

A New John Green Book, Plus Parallel Universes and the Multiverse

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Let’s keep this short: the world is a dumpster fire, so let’s jump into some book stuff and distract ourselves. Kay? Kay.

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 Library Reads, 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.


Catch you on the flipside, everyone.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently reading The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James.

New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for September’s Giant List of New Books!

Hey there, book nerds! I hope you’re ready to read, because September is going to be packed with new releases! Aside from being the biggest release season of the year, September also boasts FIVE Tuesdays, and even includes a bunch of bumped releases from the spring. Those TBR piles are going to be towering!

This week, I’m especially excited to pick up A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore, Mad & Bad by Bea Koch, and Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson. But there’s so much more to get excited about, as well–here we go!

cover of A Rogue of One's Own by Evie DunmoreA Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Daddy: Stories by Emma Cline

Gold Wings Rising by Alex London

Don’t Turn Out the Lights edited by Jonathan Maberry

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

Mad & Bad: The Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Recommended for You by Laura Silverman

The Book of Hidden Wonders by Polly Crosby

Road Out of Winter by Allison Stine

The 2084 Report by James Lawrence Powell

The Art of Drag by Jake Hall and Sophie Birkin

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman

The Tsarina’s Lost Treasure by Gerald Easter and Mara Vorhees

This Old Dog by Martha Brockenbrough and Gabriel Alborozo

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Before She Was Helen by Caroline B. Cooney

Coffee Days, Whiskey Nights by Cyrus Parker

Just Us by Claudia Rankin

Good Blood by Julian Guthrie

One by One by Ruth Ware

Prime Deceptions by Valerie Valdes

The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

The Dare Sisters by Jess Rinker

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk

The Folk Singers and the Bureau by Aaron J. Leonard

What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez

Vanguard by Martha S. Jones

Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

Grown cover imageGrown by Tiffany D. Jackson

If Then by Jill Lepore

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

More Than a Woman by Caitlin Moran

My Life in the Fish Tank by Barbara Dee

The Awkward Black Man by Walter Mosely

The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

The VanderBeekers: Lost and Found by Karina Yan Glaser

Three Keys by Kelly Yang

Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophia Hannah

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall

How to Fly by Barbara Kingsolver

Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

Total Meditation by Deepak Chopra

Vampires Never Get Old edited by Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker

Well Played by Jen DeLuca

White Fox by Sara Faring

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez

Jack by Marilynne Robinson

Just Like You by Nick Hornby

Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Sleep Donation by Karen Russell

The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrowe

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo

Whale Day by Billy Collins

Yay, you made it to the bottom of the list! Happy reading!

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for September 1

Happy Tuesday, space pirates! Wow, there are a LOT of books coming out this week. This is Alex, bringing you just a small selection of all the goodies to be had–and a little bit of book-related news. In not-book news, Bill and Ted Face the Music just came out–and it’s on streaming, which is how I watched it–and to me, it was the movie I needed in this absolute nightmare of a year because it’s just so sincere and kind and just the right amount of silly and weird. Stay safe out there, be most excellent to each other, and I’ll see you on Friday!

Here, have a thread of Tom Hiddleston as macarons.

Looking for non-book things you can do to help in the quest for justice? and The Okra Project.

New Releases

Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher – In near-future America, every citizen has a chip that tracks all their movements, and undocumented immigrants are hunted by the Deportation Forces. When Vali’s mom’s counterfeit chip malfunctions, the entire family is forced to flee the small Vermont town where they’ve been quietly living. Their only chance is to make it to California, a sanctuary state that’s being walled off from the rest of the country.

Find Layla by Meg Elison – When a school competition calls for exploration of a biome, underprivileged and bullied Layla chooses the hostile environment of her own fungi-filled, decrepit home. The video goes viral and Layla is taken from her family by Child Protective Services. Now she has to face friends and bullies alike on her own, and refuse to back down from the truth she’s shown the world.

Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire – Faerie’s archaic marriage traditions mean that Simon Torquill is legally October’s father, and she has to have him at her wedding whether she likes it or not if she doesn’t want to set off a storm of political turmoil. She has no choice to set off on a quest into her family’s past for the sake of her own future.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas – Yadriel is determined to prove that he’s a real brujo after his very traditional family refuses to accept his gender. So he decides to summon the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. Only he accidentally summons the ghost of Julian Diaz, former bad boy, who isn’t going to go quietly into death until he’s tied up some loose ends first. Yadriel agrees to help him to get the ghost to leave… but the longer they work together, the less Yadriel wants Julian to go.

Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova – Rose Mortiz is a fixer who’s had her course in life muddied by new powers she doesn’t understand–and the return of her father, who has amnesia. Only she discovers that he’s been faking his memory loss, and when she’s about to confront him, they’re sucked into the Caribbean fairy realm of Adas. If she wants to return home and try to put her family back together, she’ll have to fix Adas–and learn the true breadth of her own magic.

The Four Profound Weaves by R. Lemberg – In this queer fairytale, the city of Iyar lives in the shadow of an evil ruler. Two elder changers, people who have taken on different gender roles, must learn to weave from Death if they are to save their city and find their places in life.

In the Shadows of Men by Robert Jackson Bennet – In west Texas during the new oil boom brought about by fracking, two brothers start renovating an old motel, planning to cater to the workers coming in. The two men are after money, but they’re also running from their own histories. But the motel has its own dark history, and as strange things begin to happen, the two brothers discover that the building had saw other uses in the past…

News and Views

How about N.K. Jemisin reading a story by Amal El-Mohtar: And Their Lips Range With the Sun

All Is Fair in Love and Go: Strategy Gaming in This Is How You Lose the Time War

The Folio Society has done a new edition of Octavia Butler’s Kindred, and here’s an interview with the illustrator.

Rest in power, Chadwick Boseman.

Amazon is going to adapt Eoin Colfer’s novel Highfire, and Nic Cage is executive producing–and voicing Vern. OMG.

A Q&A with Garth Nix.

Artist Kip Rasmussen on Depicting Tolkien’s Silmarillion

Check out this Lord of the Rings fountain pen. (just don’t look at the price.)

The life of library cats during the pandemic

On Book Riot

Everything we know so far about Diana Gabaldon’s new Outlander book: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone

8 of the best adult dragon books around

You could win a copy of Micaiah Johnson’s The Space Between Worlds. TRUST ME YOU WANT THIS ONE.

See you, space pirates. You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me over at my personal site.

The Kids Are All Right

New Children’s Book Releases For September 1, 2020

Dear Readers,

We’re officially entering into fall also known as Peak New Book Season (in my house, at least). Even without COVID-19, it was going to get a lot harder to start narrowing down these choices for each week, but the pandemic’s start in the spring also meant a lot of books being pushed back, crowding an already crowded field. An abundance of riches, if you will. So I have a special pro-tip for you this week: if you see a new release you like on this list (or anywhere else), try to snatch it up as soon as you can or be prepared to prioritize which reads you must have right now. Printers, which were already struggling pre-pandemic, are experiencing a backlog, and reprints of some titles are going to be harder to find than others.

Your Place in the Universe by Justin Chin

This picture book is both an inspiring and educational glimpse at the massive scale of the universe. Looking through a telescope, a group of kids are introduced to the vast and expansive cosmos for the first time (as well as subjects such as astrophysics and astronomy) in this accessible read from the author of Grand Canyon

The Barnabus Project by Terry & Eric Fan with Devin Fan

Barnabus is half-mouse, half-elephant, who spends most of his days being poked and prodded by the men in Green Rubber Suits. As a Failed Project, he’s due to be recycled soon and so, realizing his elephant trunk gives him a special power, Barnabus frees himself and his friends, leading them through an exhilarating chase through a sinister lab and into freedom.

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James

From the author/illustrator pair behind Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, is this new picture book that celebrates Black boys. The title really says it all: Black boys are every good thing. If you’re looking for more books that depict Black boys in warm, positive, and uplifting light, this is the book for you.

Babysitter’s Club Graphic Novel #8: Logan Likes Mary Anne by Ann M. Martin and illustrated by Gale Galligan

The babysitters are back! And just in time. This next graphic novel adaptation has Mary Anne at the start of eighth grade and meeting the dreamy Logan, who might be interested in joining the Baby-sitter’s Club. Right now we could all use more of the upbeat, colorful world of the BSC.

Pine Island Home by Polly Horvath

After their missionary parents die suddenly in a tsunami, the McCready sisters go off to live with the great aunt. But during their journey, their aunt unexpectedly dies, leaving the siblings alone. But they find their aunt was well-prepared for their arrival, enrolling them in school and having beds for them, so the McCreadys, led by fourteen year old Fiona, must be sure to keep social services off their tale so they can stay together.

Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse

I love this part of of the late summer/early fall when all the spooky, witchy books start coming out. For all those young readers out there who like their witches fun and enchanting, this new graphic novel is a lighthearted and funny tale about finding oneself through helping others. Effie goes to live with her stylish aunt and her partner after her mom dies. Effie’s pretty sure Selimene and Carlota are just herbalists, but is surprised to learn they’re witches!

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

New Jacqueline Woodson! New Jacqueline Woodson! New Jacqueline Woodson! This poignant story is about ZJ, a 12-year old Black kid whose dad is a retired football player. ZJ’s bright and warm relationship with his father begins to change when his dad unexpectedly develops headaches and memory lapses, and doctors don’t have many answers though it seems to be a result of the many concussions ZJ’s dad suffered during his years of play. As his dad’s memories slip away, ZJ holds his own more tightly.

Happy reading, friends. See you next Tuesday. In the meantime, come say hi on Twitter.


Today In Books

NPR Has 100 Favorite Kids’ Books For You: Today In Books

NPR Has 100 Favorite Kids’ Books For You

NPR’s summer reading poll leaned fully into keeping kids entertained and hopefully occupied in the pandemic. After asking for readers favorite kids’ books, their judges–made up of librarians, publishers, and authors–curated this list of 100 favorite books for young readers. They explain their process and then give you so many great books, including Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold, Story Boat by Kyo MacLear and Rashin Kheiriyeh, and Front Desk by Kelly Yang.

New FLETCH Adaptation With John Hamm In Chevy Chase Role

Chevy Chase portrayed Gregory Mcdonald’s character Irwin Maurice Fletcher, from his Fletch series, to the big screen in the ’80s. Now Jon Hamm will be stepping into the journalist-always-solving-a-mystery’s shoes with a new adaptation in the works: Confess, Fletch. “The character in the book’s a lot different than Chevy’s portrayal, and so when Bill Block at Miramax came to me and said, ‘You know, we own this and we think you’d be a good fit,’ I agreed, but I don’t want to imitate Chevy. I’m not interested in that and I don’t think anybody else would be. We already have that version, so maybe there’s a way to get a version that’s more true to life for the book, more intellectual and a little more live in its sensibility.”

250 Years Of African American Poetry

Kevin Young–poet, essayist, and poetry editor and director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at NYPL–has an upcoming anthology with hundreds of poets, going as far back as 1770: African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song. “From bondage to the New Negro, from Caribbean poets to Afro-Latinx poets and those of Creole heritage, Young’s anthology is a deep dive into the lives and words that moved generations from one creative period to the next.”

How Librarians Helped Invent the YA Category of Books

A look back in history to how YA librarians and libraries helped create the young adult category of books for teens.

Book Radar

So Many Book to Screen Adaptations and More Book Radar!

Hey there, book nerds! I hope you had a fantastic weekend. The weather is cooling off in the Midwest and I spent a delightful couple of days reading, prepping for fall, and getting crafty all at a high of 68 degrees! I am here for it.

As you get ready to dive into a new week (and a new month!), remember to wear a mask, keep hydrated, and don’t forget your book!

Trivia question: Which famous American novel had the working title Baa! Baa! Black Sheep?

Squeals and Deals

Get a load of this fantastic trailer for the Enola Holmes movie adaptation! It’ll be on Netflix September 23.

Beverly Jenkins’ Bring on the Blessings novels are in development to become a TV show called Hopetown and we can’t wait!

The trailer for the movie adaptation of I’m Thinking of Ending Things has landed. It’ll be on Netflix later this week!

Some bookstores have learned that the first printing of Michael Cohen’s tell-all will be released to Amazon first, which is worrying to many indie bookstores.

The first book to star a Sikh character published by a major publisher has just been released. Fauja Singh Keeps Going is about the oldest person to ever run a marathon!

Michael Crichton’s Sphere is being adapted into a TV show for HBO by a Westworld producer.

Get a load of this amazing preorder campaign for Leigh Bardugo’s The Lives of Saints and the collector’s edition of Shadow and Bone.

We’re getting a sequel to Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton!

Riot Recommendations

At Book Riot, I’m a cohost with Liberty on All the Books!, plus I write a handful of newsletters including the weekly Read This Book newsletter, cohost the Insiders Read Harder podcast, and write content for the site. I’m always drowning in books, so here’s what’s on my radar this week!

speaking of summerMust read: Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

I had this book on my TBR for a year before finally diving in this previous week. It’s about Autumn Spencer, a Black woman living in New York City who is alarmed when one night her twin sister Summer walks to the roof of their building and disappears completely. Months later, the police still haven’t located her, people seemed to have forgotten her, and Autumn finds herself at a loss for what to do next. I went into this novel expecting a mystery, but instead you get a deep character dive about Autumn, her childhood and her relationships, and the months leading up to that fateful night on the roof. The audiobook narrator for this one, Karen Chilton, was excellent, and I was totally absorbed into the sometimes convoluted but always fascinating storyline.

What I’m reading this week:

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit In by Ayser Salman

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Trivia answer: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

I leave you with a photo of the Halloween themed face masks I made this weekend while listening to my audiobook. I never thought I’d reach the point where making seasonal face masks would excite me, but here we are!

Happy reading!


Kissing Books

HOPETOWN Is Coming!!!

I can’t even.

News and Useful Links

Twitter exploded this weekend. Again. I don’t even know where to start. There was a review of Amalie Howard’s The Duke’s Princess Bride posted on Goodreads and Medium, which I’d seen several days ago, acknowledged the reviewer’s concerns, and moved on, not expecting it to be the impetus for an implosion that might have lasting effects on the online romance community. But the fact that a white reviewer wrote a highly critical review of a book by an author of South Asian descent struck a nerve with some people, and the conversation spiraled into a wildly divided conversation—some speaking about who is allowed to critique authors of color and the high expectations laid upon authors of color compared to white authors, while others worked to maintain the conversation about that specific critique of that particular book, and the fact that the reviewer’s concerns were valid. The conversation got incredibly heated, leading to some reviewers going private or deciding to no longer be reviewers, work many of them have put their time and hearts into for free. Some authors apologized for derailing the conversation or speaking wrong, but as I write this on Sunday night, I’m still not completely certain if this can be fixed. If nothing else, Amalie Howard made a statement about revising the book (which is not yet out) based on the criticism, which by the end of the weekend had been echoed by at least one South Asian reviewer.

In case it needs to be said: yes, AOC are often held to a higher standard than other authors. Yes, there are white people who will nitpick and dogwhistle books by authors of color. Yes, there ought to be more conversation about the wildly white subgenre of historical romance and where all of these dukes get their land and money and the fact that it’s mostly ignored in the text. But in the case of this particular book—which has a male protagonist who is a colonizer and plantation owner and a female protagonist whose inner monologue is colorist and casteist, and in which the male protagonist was a member of the imperialist organization that was responsible for the deaths of members of the female protagonist’s family—from the quotes I’ve seen, the sensitivity displayed by the initial reviewer is basically what we’ve been asking white reviewers to show for years. She noticed things that could be harmful to readers of color—especially South Asian readers—and listed them. I could talk this in circles for days, but that’s already been done.

There were other people in the world this past week, though.


Rioter Carole had a nice conversation about When No One is Watching with debut thriller author Alyssa Cole.

The Romance Writers of America conference was virtual this year (obvi), and while the recordings are currently only available to registrants, scrolling through the hashtag gives some nice insight on some great keynotes and workshops.

Have you listened to this new podcast about Black romance?

Debut author Kelly Farmer wrote about realizing your sexuality when you’re older and her new book, Out on the Ice.

This is tonight, but there’s still time to RSVP.

And these are delightful!


I don’t know how long it’s going to be, but Rachel Reid’s Heated Rivalry is 1.99 right now. It’s the second in the series, but is definitely the best of the books, and you can probably read it without having read the first one (which I mentioned a few KBs ago). I devoured this whole series this week, and I don’t usually read hockey books and try to limit my m/m by female authors, even if they’re queer (and I don’t know if Reid identifies that way). But this book. Y’all. If you are an enemies to lovers reader, you need this book. Ilya and Shane. I just can’t. You have to experience it for yourselves. And then read the rest of them.


If you’re looking for something short and sweet, you should dive into Christina C. Jones’s Mahogany Heights books. They’re of varying lengths, actually, but you can always find a new novella when you’re digging through CCJ’s backlist.

Me + Somebody’s Son
Christina C. Jones

I should have finished this in a night, but I got distracted by Friday Night Lights and took an additional sitting. That show is riveting.

Anyway. Haven is a bookseller new to the Heights. Well, she went to school in the next town over, but it’s been a good decade since she’s been back. She has a real problem with guys: she just wants one night stands, but they keep coming back asking for more. When one does so with a lovely bouquet that she feels inclined to rid herself of, she decides it’s too pretty to completely lose and goes to the flower shop they came from to get an arrangement of her own. It’s there that she runs into August, an old friend from college. They’re obviously immediately into each other (and sort of always have been?) but there’s that whole caveat where Haven doesn’t date. So what do they do now?

In true CCJ fashion, this is a brief but delightful dip into the heads of two smart and interesting people with the weirdest family problems (nothing traumatic, I promise). This is a great couple of hours of palate cleanser and fun.

What are you reading this week?

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

Read This Book

Read This Book: THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA by Lauren Weisberger

Welcome to Read This Book, the newsletter where I recommend a book you should add to your TBR, STAT! I stan variety in all things, and my book recommendations will be no exception. These must-read books will span genres and age groups. There will be new releases, oldie but goldies from the backlist, and the classics you may have missed in high school. Oh my! If you’re ready to diversify your books, then LEGGO!!

August is coming to an end, and September is right around the corner … literally! Whenever I think of September, the first thing that comes to mind (besides my upcoming birthday) is the September Issue of Vogue magazine, namely the Beyoncé September Issue. Obviously, the only must-read book for this high time in high fashion is The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, the book supposedly inspired by Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

The Devil Wears Prada Book CoverAndrea “Andy” Sachs is a small-town girl fresh out of college who lands the job “a million girls would die for” when she’s hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the editor of Runway magazine. Soon, Andy finds herself thrown into a world full of impossibly thin and incredibly stylish women while dealing with the boss from hell, but she’s determined to stick it out for a year. In the end, a recommendation from Miranda will get Andy her dream job at any top magazine. As the situation escalates from unacceptable to outrageous, Andy must decide whether the job a million girls would die for is worth the price of her soul.

I’ve always loved The Devil Wears Prada film, so I was excited to finally read the source material. While I enjoy both, it was surprising to see how the book and movie differ. In the novel, Miranda Priestly is a demanding taskmaster at Runway, but she enjoys a healthy work-life balance! At work, she is a boss bitch. Then she comes home to a loving and supportive spouse. Miranda Priestly is #winning, and it will make you hate her even more.

What I really enjoyed about The Devil Wears Prada is liking the story while absolutely hating all of the characters, even Andy. Whew chile … that girl is whiny. Her boyfriend Alex is annoying, and her family is neither supportive or understanding of Andy’s difficult and demanding job. The only person who seems slightly reasonable is Andy’s roommate Lily who is dealing with her own demons. Also, in the end, Andy seems to suffer real consequences for her actions, which makes the book more grounded in reality and less like the rom-com movie.

Until next time bookish friends,


Find more of me on Book Riot.

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Riot Rundown


Today In Books

Printers Working Hard to Keep Up With Fall Releases: Today in Books

Printers Confirm: Capacity For Trade Titles Tight

Fall is traditionally a big season in book publishing, and thanks to COVID-19 the printers who supply publishing’s books are running at capacity to keep up with demand. Although they say that they are outsourcing some work, they are planning to stay on schedule and deliver books as promised to publishers.

Stowe Prize in Place

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center has awarded their 2020 Stowe Prize to Albert Woodfox, whose memoir Solitary is about his four decades spent in solitary confinement for a crime he didn’t commit. You can watch the broadcast of the author in conversation, and then even submit your questions for Woodfox to answer.

HBO Is Adapting Michael Crichton’s Trippy Novel Sphere

Get ready for a new adaptation of Sphere, this time as a TV series! The book is about a team of scientists who are called in when the Navy discovers a spacecraft on the bottom of the ocean. What they find inside  is terrifying. Westworld producer Denise Thé will be the showrunner.