Today In Books

Simon & Schuster Announces Black Celebrity Imprint: Today in Books

Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton Co-Writing YA Fantasy Duology Chaos & Flame

Ruta Rimas at Razorbill has acquired the rights to a new YA fantasy duology from Justina Ireland (Dread Nation) and Tessa Gratton (The Queens of Innis Lear). The books will follow two scions from two rival houses who get swept up in the dangerous game the prince regent is playing, and the only way they will be able to survive is by trusting each other. Publication is set for spring 2023.

Clifford the Big Red Dog Film Trailer Released

Check out the new trailer for Clifford the Big Red Dog. The children’s film, based on the Clifford series by Norman Bridwell, is coming to theaters September 17 of this year. If you watch the trailer, be sure to like and share. For every like and share the trailer receives, the film will donate $1 to Best Friends Animal Society, up to $20,000. Clifford the Big Red Dog is directed by Walt Becker and stars Darby Camp as Emily Elizabeth Howard, Jack Whitehall as Uncle Casey Howard, Izaac Wang as Emily Elizabeth’s neighbor Owen Yu, and David Alan Grier as the voice of Clifford.

Simon & Schuster Announces Black Celebrity Imprint

Today, Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Book Group announced the launch of 13A. 13A is a new imprint whose name is a reference to the Constitutional amendment that abolished slavery. The imprint is dedicated to “publishing renowned, relevant, Black voices in culture and politics.​” Charles M. Suitt is serving as publisher. For its first publication in July, the imprint will release a revised edition of Patti LaBelle’s cookbook LaBelle Cuisine. In 2022, the imprint plans to publish a collection of autobiographical essays by ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith; a cookbook from chef Aisha  “Pinky”  Cole, (aka the Slutty Vegan); and a memoir by former NBA star Allen Iverson.

15 Adult Fiction Books from BookFest That Go Straight to the TBR Pile

Another successful year of BookFest has come and gone, and our TBR lists are all a little bit longer because of it. Trying to wade your way through all the new books that were introduced at BookFest? Here’s a list of 15 amazing adult fiction books that you won’t want to miss!

Book Radar

Janelle Monáe’s Upcoming Story Collection and More Book Radar!

Happy Thursday, my bookish friends! I hope you are managing to stay cool in this heat. I have been reading lots of books, watching the Stanley Cup finals, and playing with my growing rock collection. I am super into the sparkly ones. I’m even thinking of asking for a gift certificate to the local rock and mineral store for my birthday this year, instead of my usual bookstore trip. *GASP* WHO AM I?!? I know, I know, but I just need a few more! You know how well I do with moderation, lollllll.

Moving on to today’s newsletter and book talk: I have a lot of fun news, including adaptation deals, book cover reveals, and a look at the latest Dan Chaon novel. (*Muppet arms*) Plus I’ve included a picture of my orange monsters trying to work out quantum physics, some trivia, and more! I love writing these newsletters and I appreciate your support so much. Whatever you are doing or watching or reading this week, I hope you good bob and we same place again very now. I’ll see you again on Thursday because of the holiday. Have a safe Fourth of July, if you’re celebrating! – xoxo, Liberty, Your Friendly Neighborhood Velocireader™

Trivia question time! The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson is about what Nobel Prize-winning scientist? (Scroll to the bottom for the answer.)

Deals, Reals, and Squeals!

John Lithgow will return for the Dexter revival.

Here’s the first look at I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson.

HarperVoyager bought Janelle Monáe’s upcoming collection of Afrofuturistic short stories.

Kyla Zhao’s first novel was announced.

Here’s the cover reveal of Maud Newton’s Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation.

Here’s the cast of the adaptation of No Exit by Taylor Adams so far.

Justine Ireland and Tessa Gratton are coauthoring a YA fantasy duology.

The release date of the new Dune movie has been moved again.

Morgan Jerkins announced a new novel.

cover of fresh water for flowers

Valerie Perrin’s Fresh Water for Flowers is going to be a TV series.

Asante Blackk is joining Tiffany Haddish in Landscape With Invisible Hand, based on the book by M.T. Anderson.

Antonio Banderas has joined the series adaptation of The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi.

Here are the 2021 Locus Awards winners.

The Ivy and Bean series is getting a Netflix adaptation.

Michael Gray Bulla’s upcoming novel has a new title.

Here’s the trailer for Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Here’s the first look at Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez.

Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot series, Chapelwaite, has a release date.

good omens

Good Omens is getting a second season. I don’t really care what happens next, as long as there is more Michael McKean.

Here’s the cover reveal for The Moth Girl by Heather Kamins.

Matt Bell shared the cover reveal for his craft book Refuse To Be Done.

Penguin Teen announced Chloe and the Kaishao Boys by Mae Coyiuto.

Here’s the new trailer and release date for Apple’s adaptation of Foundation by Isaac Asimov. I don’t care what it’s about, I will watch Lee Pace in anything. #PieGuy4life

A new Exorcist sequel is in the works.

Book Riot Recommends 

At Book Riot, I work on the New Books! email, the All the Books! podcast about new releases, and the Book Riot Insiders New Release Index. I am very fortunate to get to read a lot of upcoming titles, and learn about a lot of upcoming titles, and I’m delighted to share a couple with you each week so you can add them to your TBR! (It will now be books I loved on Mondays and books I’m excited to read on Thursdays. YAY, BOOKS!)

Excited to read: 

cover of sleepwalk by dan chaon

Sleepwalk by Dan Chaon (Henry Holt and Co., April 5, 2022)

HOLY CATSSSSSSSS. I cannot tell you enough how much I love Dan Chaon’s books. This one was just announced a few days ago and I am over the moon about it! It’s about a big-hearted mercenary in future America who gets a call from a woman who says she’s his biological daughter. He thinks it’s suspicious, but agrees to help her anyway. I can’t wait to find out what happens!

If you’ve never read Chaon before, he has incredible story collections, like You Remind Me of Me and Stay Awake, and I also recommend his novels, such as Await Your Reply and Ill Will. He’s one of those authors that all the other authors admire. His writing has a sad, beautiful quality, with a small side of the supernatural. If you like Emily St. John Mandel’s writing, you’ll like Dan Chaon!

What I’m reading this week.

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith

Devil House by John Darnielle 

My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, Sam Bett (translator)

The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science by Sam Kean 

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Song stuck in my head:

Happy Birthday by Concrete Blonde. I fell down the Concrete Blonde rabbit hole and haven’t been listening to much else this past week. (Also, I’m still really into listening to songs I loved when I was young. You can listen to a lot of them in this playlist I made!)

And this is funny:

Every. Single. Week.

Happy things:

Here are a few things I enjoy that I thought you might like as well:

  • The Owl House: This is scratching a lot of my Gravity Falls itch, which is helped by the fact that Alex Hirsch does some of the voices.
  • Rocks and crystals: I have discovered one of the new things I find relaxing is looking at pictures of rocks and crystals. I bought a guide book but I also go on etsy and look at all the pictures of crystals for sale. They’re so shiny and pretty! I have bought a beautiful celestine rock last week and it’s so cool.
  • Purrli: This website makes the relaxing sounds of a cat purring.

And here’s a cat picture!

two orange cats, one sitting in a box, one sitting outside the box

Farrokh and Zevon are cheating at Schrödinger’s thought experiment.

Trivia answer: Jennifer Doudna.

You made it to the bottom! High five. Thanks for reading! – xo, L

Kissing Books

Conflict Resolution is Important

Hello again romance readers. I’m PN Hinton, your companion for the world of romance. I hope your spirit is doing well today. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again.

So, I had a wonderful birthday weekend! It was exactly what I needed. I got to see some of my good friends, got some good food, and ended up buying three new books that I’m eager to read. The books I procured were The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait, Dead Dead Girls, and 14 Ways to Die.

I felt I earned it because it was my birthday and because I finished two books I had been in the middle of over my long weekend. And I started and finished Night of the Mannequins so the reward was warranted.

It tracks logically in my head so that’s what I’m going with.

Around the Web in Romance

The latest episode of the When In Romance podcast is up for your listening pleasure! Among other things, Jess and Trisha discuss how their reading habits have changed over the last year. There is also a survey in the show notes if you want to chime in on how yours may have changed since last year.

Jess also did a nice round-up of contemporary romance novels that feature a visual artist and helped to add even more books to my TBR pile.

I agree with everything that author Harper St. George has on this list about favorite things in historical romances, with the exception of number four. I’ve got hips for days; I don’t need a huge ball gown to embellish them even more. Seriously; small children have bounced off my hip and flown three feet.

Author KJ Charles wrote this blog post about conflict in romance articles and it is a really good read, especially coming from someone who used to edit for Mills & Boon.


Reading KJ’s article got me thinking about how the idea of conflict in romance has evolved since its early days. Nowadays, it’s more of a misunderstanding rather than an outright conflict. More likely, it’s a small omission that comes back later to bite someone in their rear and requires scrambling to resolve and fix.

Personally, I like the misunderstandings that are easily resolved through open communication. Some may feel it’s a bit anticlimactic, but I don’t need a huge dramatic situation followed by an equally dramatic resolution. Conflict resolution is one area where I don’t mind the lack of a huge climax in my romances (wink wink). 

We all know that the key factor in all of these is communication. But it’s easier said than done. This is something that couples have been struggling with since the dawn of time. I know a lot of people sneer that romances wouldn’t have as much of a conflict if the two ‘simply communicated’ but that’s hard to do, especially in the newness of a relationship. That kind of cavalier attitude comes after years in a relationship. And yes, when the open communication happens, a simple resolution normally follows.

That leads me to today’s recommendations. I’m going to include some of the romances that I enjoyed for the story as well as how easily the resolution was resolved. In some cases it was communication; in others it’s just a matter of people knowing more than they let on. In any case, they are still good reads and the ‘conflict resolution’ had me smiling with how easy-peasy it ended up being. I will endeavor to not give spoilers on any of the titles listed though, so the synopsis will be super short.

The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan

This is one of the sweetest books I’ve ever read. It’s a slow burn from friends to lovers that is just delightful. Chloe and Jeremy’s interactions were super sweet, even when she was mad at him. However, there is ‘the secret’ that is looming over the story and the build up on that is intense. The actuality of it had me literally bursting out laughing when I read it. It’s a Milan so you’re guaranteed a treat no matter what.

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kentworthy by Julia Quinn

Okay so I know that the ‘secret’ in this one is a bit divisive in Romancelandia, but I appreciated the accuracy of how a situation like this would play out if it were to happen in real life. Plus, I felt that Richard cared about his family and Iris and was trying to make the best of the situation that they found themselves in. And the way it ended was as even keeled as it could be.

cover of get a life chloe brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Everyone has heard of this book by now and for good reason. I loved everything about it so much that when we got to the misunderstanding I actually said, “No, no, no” out loud in my car. Side note: I was listening to the audiobook I wasn’t reading while driving. I don’t do that…much. Anyways, the resolution for that misunderstanding wasn’t as drastic as it needed to be, but it was still sweet and they ended up with their HEA which is always a winner in my book.

I know that there are others out there which have misunderstandings that are easily resolved but here are the few that stand out to me.And that’s all for now. I won’t see you next Monday since Book Riot is off for the Fourth of July holiday in America. If you’re off that day, enjoy your long weekend. Give me a follow over on Twitter @PScribe801. Until next week!

What's Up in YA

Victoria Schwab’s New YA Novel Cover Reveal: Your YA Book News and New YA Books

Hey YA friends!

This is my last newsletter with you all before Kelly returns, but why not go out with a bang and share all of the amazing news that’s dropped this week? We’ve got a ton of news, but fewer new releases since publishing slows down just a little in the summer—that just means you get a chance to catch up on all of your reading! Here we go!


Victoria Schwab’s new YA novel has a cover reveal! Gallant will release in March!

cover of Blackout

Speaking of cover reveals, the cover of Kosoko Jackson’s I’m So (Not) Over You is gorgeous!

The six authors of Blackout discuss their new book!

All of the Twilight movies are headed to Netflix, if you want to plan a watch party!

Learn more about the newest youth poet laureate!

Want to know where to find the best BookTok recommendations? Meet some of the biggest teen influencers.

The Locus Awards were announced—see which YA novel took the prize!

New Books

Chariot at Dusk by Swati Teerdhala

Cover of Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Eat Your Heart Out by Kelly deVos

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

The Girl Least Likely by Katy Loutzenhiser

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Room Service by Maren Stoffels

Under a Dancing Star by Laura Wood

New in Paperback

The Boundless by Anna Bright

cover of BURN

Burn by Patrick Ness

Ever Cursed by Corey Ann Haydu

Hate to Love You by Jenn Bennett (omnibus edition)

Love and Olives by Jenna Welch Evans

Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi

They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

On Book Riot

YA books about parallel universes to explore, if you like trippy reading.

Throw these ten July YA releases into your tote bag!

Pop the champagne, it’s wedding season! Here are five YA books about weddings.

Romantic YA beach reads for your vacationing needs.

Tune into me and Emma Kress talking about girls in YA sports books!

Thanks for hanging out! It’s been a lot of fun these past few months, and I hope we can stay in touch! Find me on Twitter or Instagram—I’m @TirzahPrice!

Happy reading!

Thanks to Rising Like a Storm by Tanaz Bhathena, with Fierce Reads for making today’s newsletter possible!

Rising Like a Storm cropped cover

Audiobooks 07/01/21

Hola Audiophiles! Ok, for reals this time: this is my last Audiobooks newsletter! It’s been such a blast bringing you the deets on the latest and greatest in the audio universe. I thank you for all of your kind words and support of this newsletter, for putting up with my gratuitous body rolls and rolling with my Spanglish. As I take on a new role at Book Riot, I’m sad to say adios but muy excited for what comes next.

On that note, allow me to introduce you to the new Head Audiophile in Charge: Kendra Winchester! Does that name sound familiar? Perhaps you know her as the Executive Producer of Reading Women, a wonderful podcast that features books by or about women, or from Book Riot’s weekly audiobooks feature which she does so well. She is a wealth of audiobooks knowledge and her passion for the format shows. You are in such, such good hands with Kendra. Show her the same love you all showed me, ya hear?

Alright, familia. Let’s audio one last time.

New Releases – Week of June 29

publisher descriptions in quotes

audiobook cover image of This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

I have been salivating over this latest work from the author of Cinderella is Dead for months, and I somehow missed that it’s a modern take on The Secret Garden?! When Briseis’ aunt dies and leaves her a rundown mansion in rural New York, Bri and her parents leave Brooklyn behind for the summer and head to the creepy old house for some R&R. Bri hopes to use this time to hone and control her gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to full blooms with a single touch. But the sinister old house has other plans involving a very specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with super deadly botanicals that only Bri’s family can enter. So we not not only get a magical lineage, tonics and tinctures, and a mysterious queer love interest, but I’m told this book features some of the most supportive parents in contemporary YA fiction. Sold! (YA fiction)

Read by Jordan Cobb (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown, Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland)

audiobook cover image of Gearbreakers, Book 1 by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Gearbreakers, Book1 by Zoe Hana Mikuta

I’ve been hearing sooo much buzz about this one! Godolia warlords are spreading their tyrannical rule over the Badlands using giant mechanized weapons called Windups. Eris is a gearbreaker who specializes in destroying Windups from the inside, but she lands in a Godolia prison when one of her missions goes awry. That’s where she meets Sona, a Windup pilot and obviously Eris’ mortal enemy, right? Plot twist!! Sona has a secret: she actually infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within. As they join forces to take on their deadist mission yet, they grow closer as comrades, as friends, and (body roll!) maybe a lil something more. (YA science fiction)

Read by Catherine Ho (Black Water Sister by Zen Cho), Cindy Kay (These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong)

audiobook cover image of The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

This is a fictionalized version of the very real story about Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian. She was hired as a twenty-something to curate a rate collection of manuscripts, art, and books for Morgan’s library, a role in which she excelled. But she kept a secret to herself all the while: she was Black. She wasn’t born Belle da Costa Green but Belle Marion Greener, the daughter of the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. She claimed her dark skin came from her alleged Portuguese heritage when she was really African American. I wonder just how many more stories there are out there of Black Americans who had to pass as white to protect themselves, their families, and their legacy. The answer of course is many, and I hope we see more and more of those stories being told more widely. (historical fiction)

Read by personal favorite Robin Miles (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin)

audiobook cover image of Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Liberty described this one as an over-the-top thriller and a locked room mystery on wheels, so fasten your seatbelts for a Riley Sager special! This one takes place in November 1991 when college student Charlie’s best friend has been murdered by the Campus Killer. To escape the grief and guilt, she decides to go back home to Ohio, opting to share the long drive with a stranger named Josh who she met on a campus message board. It all seems fine at first, but the further they get into the drive, the more she begins to suspect that she might have hitched a ride with a killer.

Read by Savannah Gilmore – I’m not familiar with Gilmore’s work, but samples of other titles sound super crisp, clear, and great for building the tension of a thriller.

Latest Listens

audiobook cover image of Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anaparra

I’m not even close to done with this one, but I have to talk about it because I’m loving it so much (thanks to Jamie for recommending this one over and over again)! This is an adult novel that is mostly told from the point-of-view of children in the slums of India, starting off as a coming-of-age narrative and moving slowly into noir territory. Nine-year-old Jai has watched a ton of police procedural shows, so he feels pretty confident in his crime-solving skills. When a classmate goes missing, he enlists the help of schoolmates Faiz and Pari to find out whether it’s a bad djinn is responsible for the disappearance, or a really bad person.

It starts off as a somewhat of a game, but things take a dark turn when more children go missing. Frustrated by the adults and police’s refusal to take the sudden onslaught of disappearances seriously, Jai, Faiz, and Pari take it upon themselves to get to the bottom of things.

The pacing of this book is excellent, and the narration a wonderful balance: I find adults narrating children to be real bad so much of the time, but Indira Varma, Himesh Patel, and Antonio Aakeel do an excellent job with age-appropriate storytelling that doesn’t border on the super-pitchy and ridiculous.

From the Internets

at Audible: Because we read queer lit all year round: The Best LGBTQIA+ Listens by Queer Authors

at AudioFile: More Mystery Audio Gifts from Golden Voice Narrators

at 3 Ways to Become a Better Reader with Audiobooks

at The Washington Post: 3 great new audiobooks for your drive, your walk, your laundry folding…

at Forbes: Self-Published Audiobooks Are The Next Great Entrepreneurial Side Hustle

Over at the Riot

Where to Find Free Audiobooks

6 of the Best Appalachian Audiobooks – written by Kendra!

Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.

Kid Lit Giveaways


We’re giving away five copies of Kyle’s Little Sister by BonHung Jeong to five lucky Riot readers!

Enter here for a chance, or click the cover image below!

Here’s what it’s all about:

My name is Grace, not “Kyle’s little sister!”

Having a good-looking, friendly, outgoing older brother sucks—especially when you’re the total opposite, someone who likes staying home and playing video games. Your parents like him better (even if they deny it!), and everyone calls you “Kyle’s little sister” while looking disappointed that you’re not more like him. I was hoping I’d get to go to a different middle school, but no such luck. At least I have my friends…until he finds a way to ruin that, too…! Argh! What do I have to do to get out of his shadow?!

The Kids Are All Right

Kidlit Deals for June 30, 2021

Hey there, kidlit pals! It’s the last week of June, and we’ve got a holiday weekend coming up if you’re in the U.S. Now’s a good time to stock up on all of these book deals so you have plenty of reading for the long weekend ahead! As always, get these book deals while you can, because they won’t last long!

Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu is a heartfelt novel for young readers about tough things, and it’s $4.

All the Answers cover

Kate Messner, who is a queen of kidlit, has a few books on sale! All the Answers is under $5, and Manhunt is just $4!

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord is $4–it’s the story of friendship between two girls from different worlds.

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste is the perfect creepy summer read for just $2.

Natalie Lloyd’s A Snicker of Magic is only $4!

It is the perfect time of year for One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia! Enjoy it for under $5.

The Unteachables by Gordon Korman is a funny novel about what happens when the worst class in the whole school is paired with the worst teacher. Grab it for $2.

Real Friends cover

Primer by Jennifer Muro, Thomas Krajewski, and Gretel Lusky is a new superhero graphic novel for kids, and you can pick it up for $4!

Last chance to snag Real Friends by Shannan Hale and LeUyen Pham for $3!

Happy reading!

Riot Rundown


In The Club

In the Club 06/30/21

Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed. Two more newsletters to go together, people of the club! Today I’m going to hit you with some of my favorite book club picks of the year so far. The truth is I could have added another 10 titles from the list of books I have read this year, and another 10 from my TBR. But I’m not trying to go out with a 4,000 word newsletter, you know?

To the club!!

Nibbles and Sips, and Sometimes Tips

I came back to Portland just in time to miss the epic heatwave that smashed temperature records in the Pacific Northwest three days in a row. Bruuuuuh 116 degrees? No quiero! I’ve experienced that ish before and have absolutely no desire to do so again. Climate change!!!!

Because super hot temps are popping up all over the place, I thought today I’d share this thread all of helpful tips for staying cool when you don’t have AC. I used to do A LOT of these when I lived in inland San Diego and my brother unknowingly bought a house with no AC. I hope these will come in handy in helping you beat the heat!

Best of the Club, So Far

cover image of Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology by Jess Zimmerman

Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology by Jess Zimmerman

I love this book so much (I know, I know: Vanessa likes a book about mythology. Shocking!). This cultural analysis dedicates one chapter to each of 11 mythological female monsters to illustrate how women have been labeled as monstrous throughout history. She examines the lore surrounding creatures like Scylla, Medusa, and the Sphinx to show how women’s anger, sexuality, and even ugliness have been used to turn us into villains. You’ll find yourself looking at these “monsters” in whole new light.

Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

What do the words “magical steampunk Egypt,” matcha, floral cocktails, and cheese have in common? Putting any one of those on a string is easy bait to lure me. In alternative Cairo in 1912, djinn and humans exist alongside one another. Special Investigator Fatma el Sha-arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities and she’s just been tasked with investigating the killing of a brotherhood dedicated to a famed Sudanese mystic. That man, known as al-Jahiz, is said to have torn a hole in the veil between the magical and mundane worlds decades ago before disappearing, and the man claiming responsibility for the killings claims to be al-Jahiz returned. Together with her new partner and her mysterious lover, Fatma sets out to solve the case and uncover the truth about this self-professed prophet.

cover image of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

The collection of nine stories explores “the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good.” It does it so perfectly, painfully, and poignantly, the kind of read you need to stop and savor. My favorite stories include one about two 40-year-old lifelong friends whose relationship turned sexual years ago; when the narrator drops suggest to her friend that they could be more than occasional lovers, the friend stills dream of life as a “good Christian woman” and recoils in horrified disgust. Another favorite is one about two women who fled their hometown in the South to live freely and safely as a same-sex couple. But one of the women grapples with the concept of home, of belonging, of community, of longing for people and places that made you but may no longer serve you (this passage KILLED ME). The collection is a slim one but packs such a punch. The stories are so vulnerable and revelatory. It almost feels like an invasion of privacy to witness this beautiful if sometimes heart-breaking intimacy, these slices of life that often go unseen.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine is a biracial, unenrolled tribal member with dreams of studying medicine. She defers enrollment to stay local and care for her mother and grandmother, then witnesses the murder of her best friend. When the killing is followed by a strings of other suspicious deaths, the murders appear to be linked to a new lethal cocktail of meth wreaking havoc on the res. Daunis gets pulled into an undercover investigation into the source of the meth, one that brings her into close contact with a new boy in town who might be hiding something about himself. She also pursues her own secret investigation, using her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to uncover buried secrets in her community. 

cover image of The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey

The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey

All of the books in the Perveen Mistry series are fun, smart historical mysteries with a feminist message, but this one also has something to say about colonial rule. In 1920s Bombay, Perveen Mistry is India’s first female lawyer. The Bombay Prince opens in November 1921 as the Prince of Wales is getting ready to come to India on a four month tour. There’s major unrest in India and a lot of tension surrounding the visit; people are getting tired of British rule and they’re pushing back against it. When a young Parsi student falls from a second story window just as the Prince Edward’s grand procession is passing by her college, the death rattles Perveen. That very young woman had come to her for a legal consultation just days before her death, asked about the legality of skipping classes on the day Edward would be visiting Bombay. Plagued with guilt and a sneaking suspicion that this death wasn’t accidental, Perveen promises to get justice for the woman. Can Perveen help a suffering family when her own is in danger, and in the middle of so much turmoil?

Suggestion Section

Good Morning America announces its July Book Club

This Bushwick-based book club writes original songs for every book they read. This is amazing, and also feels like a challenge…. *begins scheming in Spanish*

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 and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends. 

Unusual Suspects

June Mystery Releases

Hello mystery fans! Another month is in the books and it’s time to roundup mysteries, thrillers, and crime books that have just released and are thus ready for you to go forth and read them. (TWs are in review links)

Warn Me When It’s Time (Charlie Mack Motown Mystery #6) by Cheryl A. Head

Here’s a great series for detective fans, which just released the sixth installment and follows a team of investigators in Detroit. You get not just one PI but a whole team! If you want to start at the beginning check out Bury Me When I’m Dead (Review).

cover image of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

If you’re a fan of dark academia, private school settings, secret societies, social thrillers, and twisty reads this is a great pickup. Bonus: the audiobook narrators, Jeanette Illidge and Tapiwa Mugweni, are excellent.

cover of dead dead girls

Dead Dead Girls (Harlem Renaissance Mystery #1) by Nekesa Afia

If you’re looking to start a new historical mystery series, like fictional serial killers, noir-ish, and want a Harlem Renaissance setting here’s your next read. (Review)

The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious #4) by Maureen Johnson

This is a rare case where this is the fourth book in a series but it is a standalone because the first three were written as a contained trilogy. The Box In The Woods is perfect for fans of the mystery genre and horror tropes as you race to try and solve the mystery! This book is the experience I’m always looking for when reading mysteries. (Review) If you want to read the trilogy start with Truly Devious.

The Night Hawks (Ruth Galloway #13) by Elly Griffiths

For fans of Ruth Galloway’s series there’s a new release! The series follows a forensic archaeologist who lives near Norfolk in a salt marsh. If you want to start at the beginning pick up The Crossing Places, where Ruth helps with a missing child case and finds herself and her remote life put in grave danger. Griffiths is also the author of The Stranger Diaries (Review) and The Postscript Murders (Review) so there is plenty of great mysteries to read in her catalog.

The Bombay Prince (Perveen Mistry #3) by Sujata Massey

If you like historical mysteries, this is a series you should absolutely be reading. Set in the early 1900s, it follows Perveen Mistry, India’s only female lawyer. If you want to start at the beginning, mostly for full character backstory, pick up The Widows of Malabar Hill. (Review)

Bath Haus cover

Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon

For domestic thriller fans, here’s a page-turner that follows Oliver and Nathan and a night gone terribly wrong for Oliver at a bathhouse, and the need to keep Nathan from finding out, which only creates more problems and tension… The book has alternating narrations between Oliver and Nathan, and the audiobook selected two narrators, Michael Crouch and Daniel Henning, to portray them so if you audio pick up that format.

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

If you’re looking for a thriller and aren’t afraid to fly here’s a twisty one about a flight attendant on an inaugural groundbreaking flight who ends up having to choose between saving her daughter or everyone on the plane when she finds a threatening note…

Homegrown Hero (Jay Qasim #2) by Khurrum Rahman

Here’s the sequel to East of Hounslow (Review), which picks up after the cliffhanger ending and follows Jay Qasim, the most reluctant spy–because MI5 forced him into helping. If you want a character to root for and love, grab this series–it reminds me a lot in tone to a show I really enjoy, Man Like Mobeen.

audiobook cover image of Dream Girl by Laura Lippman

Dream Girl by Laura Lippman

Lippman has an extensive catalog to dive into–including a PI series and recent standalone releases Lady in the Lake (Review) and Sunburn (Review)–and has a new psychological suspense starring a novelist, which has some Misery vibes…

Runner (Cass Raines #4) by Tracy Clark

If you’re a fan of PI mysteries, this is the fourth in a Chicago set series you should absolutely be reading. If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Broken Places (Review), and if you want to jump into the series with Runner here’s my review.

Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams

The author of No Exit (Review) is back with a new thriller! (TW suicide) Lena Nguyen doesn’t believe that her estranged twin sister died by suicide, so she’s shown up to interview the state trooper whose story doesn’t seem to line up with the bit of facts that are known.

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell

Here’s a fascinating read about the language of cults and how it’s used to not only get and keep power for cult purposes, but also how the language is used throughout our society, including in marketing. (Review)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

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

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