Check Your Shelf

Gay Royal Romance Novels, Cyberpunk, and MORE

Welcome to Check Your Shelf, where I’m writing this newsletter a little bit earlier than usual because IT’S THE WEEKEND and I have plans on Sunday! (First Cubs game at Wrigley Field in two years!!) Blaine and I are fully vaccinated and preparing to cheer on the Cubs with 20,000 other people, which is both exciting and extremely overwhelming after the last year. Fingers crossed for a win, and I hope that all of you readers had (have?) a lovely holiday weekend!

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Roxane Gay starts her own imprint with Grove Atlantic.

Checking in with Black bookstores nearly a year after 2020’s book boom on racism.

How booksellers were complicit in the resurgence of white supremacy and the rise of Donald Trump.

New & Upcoming Titles

4 chilling debut thrillers for your summer reading list.

30 LGBTQ YA books to read this spring. Plus, 23 new LGBTQ+ YA books to add to your TBR.

The best new LGBTQ+ rom-coms to read this summer.

The 31 best books of 2021 (so far).

Weekly book picks from Buzzfeed, Crime Reads, LitHub, and USA Today.

June picks from Epic Reads (YA), New York Times, and Vanity Fair.

Summer picks from Amazon (romance), Star Tribune, Time, and Vulture.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

The Kingdoms – Natasha Pulley (New York Times,, USA Today)

Heaven – Mieko Kawakami (New York Times, NPR, Washington Post)

King Richard: Nixon and Watergate: An American Tragedy – Michael Dobbs (New York Times, USA Today)

Languages of Truth: Essays 2003 – 2020 – Salman Rushdie (The Guardian, New York Times)

The Other Black Girl – Zakiya Dalila Harris (New York Times)

RA/Genre Resources

Romancing the Discourse is a new monthly online romance lecture and Q&A series hosted by author Ali Williams.

Feminist science fiction in all of its gritty glory.

The gay royal romance novel is having a moment. (USA Today)

On the Riot

Preorder these queer books coming out in June!

19 true crime books coming out in 2021.

Weekly book picks you need to read.

5 new books for AAPI Heritage Month 2021.

A beginner’s guide to reading fan fiction.

Cyberpunk: everything you did (and maybe didn’t) want to know.

All Things Comics

Marvel confirms Oscar Isaac as the star of the upcoming Moon Knight series on Disney+. I’ve never had much interest in Marvel, but I may find myself watching a few episodes of this…

The CW has greenlit Ava DuVernay’s comic adaptation of DC’s Naomi.

Keanu Reeves discussed his comic book debut at the inaugural US Book Show.

We’re getting a graphic novel about the life of Freddie Mercury!

10 Marvel comics with healthy LGBTQ representation.

On the Riot

Graphic nonfiction for middle grade readers.

Simply complicated: why comics aren’t always what they seem.

Communicating science through illustration.


Celebrating the 2021 Edgar Award winners on audio.

May’s bookseller-recommended audiobooks.

On the Riot

8 of the best audiobooks by Black southern writers.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


The best picture books for growing emotional intelligence.

11 enchanting mermaid books for kids.


15 of the best books to help you understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

An essential reading list on police and Pride.

7 queer books with heartstopping twists.

10 translated books from Haiti to read right now.

10 of the best post-apocalyptic novels.

8 mindbending books you’ll be thinking about for days.

Horror, scifi, and fantasy books that make the most of circus settings.

The best books, podcasts, and documentaries about cults.

7 stories on the absurdity of love.

10 essential noir novels.

12 books featuring the New York underworld.

Nonfiction about crime, corruption, and fraud in Silicon Valley.

11 of the best mental health books.

Literary recommendations for each character on Friends.

11 of the best books on #BookTok.

On the Riot

10 fish books for kids: they don’t get betta than this! (Puns usually make me roll my eyes, but I have to tip my hat to this one…that’s pretty good.)

6 soothing bedtime books for kids.

Middle grade books about mental health.

Dark fiction in YA literature: the horror of coming of age.

4 great YA novels set in the 1950’s.

16 nonfiction books you may have missed because of the pandemic.

6 historical fiction books set in South Asia.

7 books that share the same title.

5 contemporary, game-changing literary fiction novels.

6 books for submitting to the mortifying ordeal of being known. Ouch.

11 books like The Kiss Quotient.

15 of the best romantic thrillers to TBR.

Horror novels set in the woods.

5 of the best horror novels about small towns.

5 of the best horror novels about mothers.

6 great SFF heist novels.

7 books about the attention economy.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Books like Mamma Mia!

5 recent and upcoming cocktail books to whet your appetite.

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.

That’s it for me! I’m off to Wrigley Field, where I sincerely hope the rest of the team can stay off of the Injured List. Go Cubs go, and I’ll catch you all on Friday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for June 1

Happy Tuesday, shipmates! Wow, it’s already June! After the longest year on record, this one feels like it’s sure going by fast–we’re only a bit over three weeks away from the solstice. Anyway, it’s Alex calling to you over the sound of the rushing time stream, with another Tuesday selection of new releases for you, along with some links for your perusal. May the coming month be a good one for you! Stay safe out there, space pirates, and I’ll see you on Friday.

Thing that made me smile: Neil Gaiman has absolutely no patience for whining about the [non-white and/or non-binary] casting in Sandman

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: and

New Releases

Cover for The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Jordan has anything a woman could want in 1920s America: money, education, social clout, a great talent with golf. But as a Vietnamese adoptee who is also queer, she also gets treated like an exotic pet by her peers and finds many doors are closed to her. Her world isn’t just money and parties though–it’s also ghosts, magic, and infernal pacts. And Jordan has always been a fast learner.

A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow

Naema is a teen influencer and an Eloko, someone gifted with a melody that no one can resist. She’s beloved by all until the day she’s exposed as a Siren and vilified by the world. She heads to the Southwest to work on her comeback, and for a little while she feels like she might have her old life back… until her fiercest online fans start targeting other Black girls.

Cover of Ten Low by Stark Holborn

Ten Low by Stark Holborn

Ex-con, ex-medic Ten Low is barely surviving at the edge of the universe when she pulls a teenaged girl from a crashed lifecraft. But the ordinary-looking girl is actually a super soldier, decorated general, and part of the army that once kept Ten prisoner. If she wants to get the girl off world, Ten must take her on a perilous journey across the lawless surface… but the real question is, does she want to?

Wendy, Darling by A. C. Wise

The storied girl who once flew toward the second star from the right and straight on ’til morning has grown up, gotten married, had a daughter, and established a life in London. But when Peter Pan finally comes back into her life, it’s only to take her daughter to Neverland–and Wendy has little choice but to follow and face what she once left behind.

Cover of The Witch King by H. E. Hedgmon

The Witch King by H. E. Edgmon

Wyatt is a witch from the realm of Asalin, where he was betrothed to a fae prince, Emyr, who was also his best friend. But after losing control of his magic, Wyatt flees to the human world to find himself and escape his past… until Emyr hunts him down, still intent on seeing their engagement through so he doesn’t lose his throne.

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Red is the only Second Daughter to be born in centuries, and her fate is sealed the minute she draws breath: she will be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood. Plagued by magic she can’t control, Red is almost relieved when the day of sacrifice comes… but in the Wilderwood, she finds that nothing is quite as it seems, and she has a different and far more dangerous fate.

News and Views

Over at Teen Vogue, Stitch interviewed Kelly Marie Tran

A roundup of indie speculative fiction published in May

If you’re looking for some short speculative fiction by African writers, you should check out Omenana magazine

Fantasy Hive has tried to describe some five-star fantasy books in five words

Cherry Pickett on the coexistence of sci-fi and romance

Interview with Nino Cipri

Interview with Sarina Dahlan

Octavia Butler Wanted to Write a “Yes” Book

Icelandic sci-fi movie? SIGN ME UP.

An adaptation of Jeremy C. Shipp’s The Atrocities is in development

Howard University renamed is College of Fine Arts after Chadwick Boseman

Exploring the afterlife in fantasy: Soul and Lil Nas X break the rules

The Spacefaring Paradox: Deep-space human travel is a lose-lose proposition

On Book Riot

A guide to the fantasy and science fiction awards scene

Quiz: Which Supernatural Thriller Should You Pick Up Next?

See you, space pirates. 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.

Today In Books

Release John Steinbeck’s Werewolf Novel You Cowards

Release John Steinbeck’s Werewolf Novel You Cowards

Apparently, deep in the archives at the University of Texas, there is an unpublished John Steinbeck novel about werewolves. Murder at Full Moon (yes that really is the title) was one of three early Steinbeck novels that have never been published (the other two Steinbeck himself destroyed). The Steinbeck estate doesn’t seem interested in publishing it. Still, despair not: we only have to wait 22 more years for it to enter the public domain. Until then, you could always freak yourself out reading horror books set deep in the woods.

Bookselling and White Supremacy

At LitHub, Josh Cook reckons with how bookselling can be complicit in promoting white supremacy. How much political power do bookstores have? And what is the best way to use it?

If You Can’t Find a Book Club, Your Answer Might Be at the Library

At Electric Literature, Christina Simon says that while she wished for a book club to invite her in, eventually she found what she was looking for at the library. How many readers like her are out there who, but for the want of a small group of like-minded readers, would be thrilled to join a book club? Another option would be to join an online book club.

Today In Books

Akwaeke Emezi Named TIME Next Generation Leader: Today in Books

Akwaeke Emezi Is Writing New Possibilities Into Being

Author Akwaeke Emezi graces the cover of Time magazine as a Next Generation Leader, with a powerful cover story about their experiences as a Black, queer, and trans storyteller. Emezi is the author of Freshwater, Pet, The Death of Vivek Oji, and their upcoming memoir, Dear Senthuran. They also recently sold a romance novel, which has already been optioned for screen.

‘Black Panther’ TV Series: Danai Gurira To Reprise Role As Okoye On Disney+

Danai Gurira stole our hearts as Okoye in Black Panther, and now she’s returning to that role in a new Black Panther spin off series, set in Wakanda. The series will stream on Disney+, but not much is known yet about plot details.

Rupert Evans Is Joining The Cast Of Bridgerton Season 2

For those of you who can’t wait for the next season of the Netflix adaptation of the Bridgerton books by Julia Quinn, here’s something fun! Rupert Evans is joining the cast, as Edmund Bridgerton, father of the Bridgerton siblings. Since he’s deceased at the start of the series, it’s likely he’ll appear in flashbacks only, which will be significant to Anthony’s backstory and romance.

Today In Books

Netflix’s Contemporary ANNA KARENINA Series Adaptation Will Be First Russian Original: Today in Books

One Poem Channels India’s Anger About the Pandemic

Parul Khakhar’s 14-line Gujarati verse has highlighted India’s shocking response to COVID. The poem Shab-vahini Ganga (“A Hearse Called Ganga”) was posted on May 11 on social media, and it expresses the poet’s despair and outrage at her country’s response to the pandemic and the high number of pandemic deaths. While Khakhar does not mention Narendra Modi by name, it’s clear from the poem’s heartfelt words that it reflects India’s anger over Narendra Modi and his administration’s handling of the pandemic.

Netflix’s Contemporary Anna Karenina Series Adaptation Will Be First Russian Original

Netflix is currently working on its first Russian original drama series, a contemporary retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel Anna Karenina, with the working title Anna K. The series will take place in contemporary Russia. Anna Karenina (Svetlana Khodchenkova) is the wife of the soon-to-be governor of St. Petersburg. She has a love affair with Vronsky, the heir of an aluminium empire. Michael Azzolino, the director of the series, said: “We are incredibly proud to announce our first Russian series with 1-2-3 Production. The talented team of writers, directors and producers have crafted an imaginative and immersive series. We are excited to help bring their vision for this much admired story to our members in Russia and the world.”

Telemundo Global Studios Buys Complete Library of Spanish-Language Writer Corín Tellado

In the biggest Spanish-language literary adaptation deal of the year, Telemundo Global Studios has purchased the exclusive rights to the complete library of all time best-selling Spanish-language writer Corín Tellado. The deal covers nearly 4,000 titles and also marks the first time a Spanish-language studio has acquired the rights to a major author’s complete works.

20 Must-Read Queer Books Out in June

There are so many great queer books coming out in June. Here are 20 must-read queer books that you can preorder in time for Pride Month.

Riot Rundown


What's Up in YA

Your Weekend YA Book Deals!

Hey YA friends!

It’s a long weekend here in the U.S., which means that it’s time to grab a huge stack of books and read! If you need some new books, then here are some great YA book deals to keep you busy! Here we go!

cover of Anna K

Anna K by Jenny Lee is just $3! Perfect for fans of retellings!

In the mood for a thriller? All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban is only $2!

The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi is an award winner and a great in-translation YA, for $3.

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha is one of my favorite graphic memoirs, and it’s just $2.

The Fever King by Victoria Lee is the first in a duology for $1!

Want to try out a bunch of new authors? The anthology A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman is just $2!

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett is $2!

Start a new epic fantasy–The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala is $2.

Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura is a great banter-y rom-com for just $3.

The Last 8 by Laura Pohl is a sci-fi romp for only $2.

cover of A Match Made in Mehendi

For another fun rom-com, pick up A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai for $3!

This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey is a new book set in 1998, and it’s $3.

Are you a fan of Fence by C.S. Pacat? Pick up Fence: Striking Distance by Sarah Rees Brennan for just $3.

Happy reading!

Thanks to Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan for making this newsletter possible!

Cropped counting down with you cover
The Kids Are All Right

Picture Books for Adventurers and Explorers!

Dear Kid Lit Friends,

I am always amazed when I think about people who are able to see beyond what is in front of them and discover the unimaginable. These five picture books celebrate adventurers and explorers and their stories will hopefully inspire this new generation of young people to dare and dream in big ways.

The Stuff Between the Stars: How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe by Sandra Nickel, illustrated by Aimee Sicuro

Before Vera Rubin discovered most of the universe, she loved watching the night sky and would fall asleep dreaming of the mysteries she couldn’t see. When she got older, she presented her research at a conference and the male astronomers called her ideas “outlandish”. Their comments only made her more determined to study faraway galaxies that no one was interested in. She made groundbreaking and incredibly significant discoveries that scientists have only recently been able to really appreciate—and she changed the way that we look at the universe.

The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection by Ben Brashares and Elizabeth Bergeland

Chuck Whipplethorp is bored living at his new home on Normal Street. As he unpacks some of the moving boxes, he finds his grandfather’s first bug collection. His dad even tells him that his grandpa discovered a new species of insect! All the talk of his Grandpa’s achievements makes Chuck feel sad at the ways he falls short, but with a little help from his nurturing father, Chuck finds his own source of strength and individuality through creativity.

A Night Walk to the Sea by Deborah Wiles, illustrated by Daniel Miyares

After a storm, the lights go out and Roger is afraid. But then his aunt Rachel suggests that they take a walk so they can see the beauty of the natural world at night. Roger puts rain gear on right over his pajamas, and together he and Rachel head down the rocky path to the sea. On the way they discover many marvels–a screech owl calling to its mate, ghost crabs tunneling in the sand, and most incredibly, the luminous life that lights up the water.

What Will You Be? by Yamile Saied Mendez, illustrated by Kate Alizadeh

This book follows that classic conversation among kids: “What will you be when you grow up?” When a young girl goes to her Abuela to ask for advice, her Abuela points to the girl’s heart and says, “Listen”. The girl closes her eyes and listens to her heart, letting her dreams take flight to all the possibilities ahead of her.

Hello, Star by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

When a young girl stares out in to the night sky and notices a star shining brighter than any other, her mom tells her that the star is a supernova. The young girl feels sad for the star that is slowly losing its light, so every night she assures the star that it is not alone. As she grew up, she learned more about the supernova, doing every she could to study the star until one day she stepped aboard a space shuttle and flew far beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Until next time!

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Today In Books

Oscar Isaac Confirmed as the Star of Marvel’s MOON KNIGHT: Today in Books

Netflix Has Announced More of the Cast for the Upcoming Sandman Adaptation

For its upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Neflix had already announced that Tom Sturridge and Gwendoline Christie would star as Dream and Lucifer. In a press release earlier this week, many more roles for the upcoming adaptation were announced: Kirby Howell-Baptiste will play the role of Death, Mason Alexander Park will play Desire, Donna Preston will play Desire’s twin, Despair, Jenna Coleman will play Johanna Constantine, Joely Richardson and Niamh Walsh will play the older and younger versions of Ethel Cripps, Kyo Ra will play Rose Walker, Stephen Fry will play Gilbert, Razane Jammal will play Lyta Hall, Sandra James Young has been cast as Unity Kincaid, Patton Oswalt will lend his voice to Dream’s raven emissary, Matthew the Raven, and David Thewlis has been cast as John Dee. Author Neil Gaiman said in a statement released alongside the casting that he couldn’t wait for people to see the series, and, “Of course, there are more delights and nightmares cast than I’ve listed here, and we have a few more secrets up our sleeves.”

Romancing the Discourse is a New Monthly Online Lecture Series for Fans of Romance

Earlier this week, romance author, editor and academic Ali Williams announced Romancing the Discourse, “A monthly online romance lecture and Q&A series for the romance reader, writer and academic, and the perfect entry point in the genre for the romance-curious.” The series will be 13 sessions that cover a wide range of subjects, from various romance genres to how the promise of a Happily Ever After allows writers to take risks. Each session will have a 40 minute lecture and conclude with a 20 minute Q&A. Sessions cost £5 each and will take place on Saturdays at 9pm GMT (Saturday afternoon for US attendees and Sunday morning for Australian).

Oscar Isaac Confirmed as the Star of Marvel’s Moon Knight

Seven months after Oscar Isaac was first announced as “in talks” to star in Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight, the studio has finally confirmed that Isaac will star in the upcoming series, which will air on Disney Plus. No other members of the cast have been officially announced as of yet, but it’s been rumored that Ethan Hawke is also connected to the project as a villain. May Calamawy is also reportedly attached to the project in an unknown role. The Disney Plus series is based on the Marvel superhero Moon Knight, originally created by Doug Moench and artist Don Perlin. The series is set to release in 2022.

100 Years of the Newberry Medal

The beloved children’s literary prize, the Newberry Medal, will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. This is the history of the prize, and how it has evolved over 100 years.