Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that you should add to your TBR pile or nightstand or hidden stack under the bed, right away!

Is it too soon for books with a fall feel? Back up. Is it ever too soon for books with a fall feel? Doubtful on both ends. Take a book that is fall in a paperback, add hints of childhood nostalgia to it, and what do you get? My next pick of course.

Cover Image of Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

This book by Bradbury is one that I started a good seven times. But each of these times means it made me stop for reasons you wouldn’t think. Every time I’d read the first few chapters, I would feel this pit in my stomach, this sense of vertigo from when something is going too fast. It was I, I who was going too fast, growing up too fast.

So naturally, I would deal with it the way I deal with all big emotions; I shoved it under the carpet. The sense of nostalgia it created in me was so potent that I couldn’t do anything but.

The eighth time was the charm though. It is then that I got into the story of Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway. Two best friends chase after the Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show only to be wrapped in the sinister mystery the traveling carnival brings with it. There is magic, mystery, two boys leaving behind their youth, and the power of friendship in helping to reclaim it all.

If you have never read a Bradbury before, then you are in for a treat because Bradbury’s work strikes the perfect balance between commentary and story, where other authors falter. If you have ready Bradbury’s other popular works such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Illustrated Man, both equally brilliant, then stay. You are in for a treat too.

If you have enjoyed books like Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, then this one is most definitely for you.

If you have read this already come tell me what you thought on Twitter, @JavedNusrah.

Happy Reading!

In The Club

The Girls Are Adapting

Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed. Whew, so the last few days of August decided to keep up the raggedy standard with the hurricane that hit Louisiana and nearby states on the anniversary of hurricane Katrina. Now, one million people are without power with it possibly taking weeks before they have it back. I found my big sister mode switched fully on when I asked my little brother if he was prepared for the storm, as Nashville was in its path. Naturally, he asked me “what storm?” and I proceeded to turn into my father by stating all the things he needed to make sure he had (flashlights, toilet paper, drinking water, canned food, etc.) before making an annoyed point that he needed to watch the news more. For context, he’s about to be 25. I don’t know when I started transforming into my parents, but I suddenly feel attacked by these commercials, smh.

With all of that said, I hope everyone in the path of the storm is safe and that this nightmare ends soon.

Now on to the club!

Nibbles and Sips

I think we can all be real and say that we need a drink. Well, I can, in any case. This watermelon sorbet and Prosecco looks bomb and easy to assemble. It’s also a nice way to close out the summer, I think. Here’s a recipe for watermelon sorbet. *Pro Tip: If you throw extra fruit into it, it counts as healthy.

To the books!


The Cowboy Bebop live action series was announced and got me feeling some type of way. I just don’t think it’s giving what it’s supposed to give. One problem with it is that they’re debating whether they should have a key character in a show where the relationships between the main characters are a major part of the story. Now, how that would work is beyond me, but they need to stop trying to ruin my childhood memories of staying up past my bedtime and watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Just throw it all away.

This got me thinking about some books being adapted into movies or shows that I am actually hype about. I also think reading a book and then watching its film or show adaption offers more opportunities for discussion, or, you know, just more fan-girling.

cover image of Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin

Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell 

This is being adapted into a movie by Netflix called Distincia De Rescate. Amanda is dying in an Argentinian countryside hospital. A child, David, sits beside her, insisting that she tell the story of the trauma that led to her current condition. David is not her child. We’re led through an unsettling deathbed narrative, as we ponder the mystery concerning her hospital stay and just why this child David is there with her. It has been described as “a nightmare come true, a ghost story for the real word, an inquisitive tale and a love story” by its director.

image of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

The author herself has been commissioned to create a drama series for Channel 4. Queenie follows its namesake, a young British woman of Jamaican heritage, as she stumbles through her dating life. Emphasis on the stumbling part, because she seems to keep making some of the same mistakes, but at least has the support of her group of friends and some ultra traditional Jamaican parents. It has been dubbed a Black Bridget Jones, which was also adapted into a couple movies.

cover image of Passing by Nella Larsen

Passing by Nella Larsen

Passing will be on Netflix in November. It stars Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson *lightly squeals*. Passing is the classic 1929 story that shows the very real practice that some lighter-skinned Black and mixed people did to pass as white back in the day. Irene is living it up in Harlem with her doctor husband when Clare comes back into her life. Light-skinned Clare had left the Black community years ago in order to “pass” and enjoy the benefits afforded to white people. Turns out Clare is a hot mess, and Irene is shook. Chaos ensues.

Both Passing and Queenie give plenty of opportunities to discuss the intersection of race, class, and gender for the female protagonists. There’s also the chance to discuss how those aforementioned things are influenced by location (i.e. The United States vs. England). How are things the same and how are they different? Fever Dream gives opportunities to talk about gender as well, especially as it relates to motherhood.

Side note: I love that all of these adaptions are being or were written by women, with the Fever Dream and Passing adaptions having also been directed by women. The girls are outchea adapting! We love to see it.

Suggestion Section

There’s still a little time to bid on some romance novels for Haitian earthquake relief if you’re able to.

Fellow Book Rioter Annika Barranti Klein lists more Netflix adaptions coming out.

Oprah Announces The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers as her new book club pick.

There is a Terry Pratchett book club going on over at Terry Pratchett Book Club: Witches Abroad, Part I

Dr. Imani Perry joins the Noname Book Club digital meetup to discuss August picks Looking for Lorraine by Imani Perry and The Autobiography of Malcolm by Alex Haley.

As always, thanks for hanging out! If you have any comments or just want to connect, send an email to or holla at me on Twitter @erica_eze_ . You can also catch me choppin’ it up with Kelly Jensen on the Hey YA podcast every couple of weeks.

Until next week.


Kid Lit Giveaways

083121-Star Beasts-KidlitGiveaway

We’re giving away five copies of Star Beasts by Stephanie Young (Author) and Allyson Lassiter (Illustrator) to five lucky Riot readers!

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

Here’s what it’s all about:

Bandit is a pup who leaves his family on Earth to join the secret order of the Star Beasts – cosmic creatures sworn to protect Earth and spread goodness throughout the universe. When powerful ancient relics are stolen, Bandit leads the crew on a kick-asteroid space race to collect them all and defeat the evil Khaos Krill from destroying Earth!

Unusual Suspects

Missing Person Mystery & Nonviolent True Crime

Hello mystery fans! This week I have for you a returns-home missing person mystery and a nonviolent true crime.

Nice Girls cover image

Nice Girls by Catherine Dang

This combines a few tropes that I like: the women that get called “unlikable”; returning home after “escaping”; and missing person cases. And it also reminded me of The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka in tone, the way it unfolds, and with the messy family. Growing up in a small Minnesota town, Mary wanted out, both to flee the bullying and the way she was looked at. Her chance at this came when she was accepted into an Ivy league school. She lost weight dangerously with an eating disorder and felt like she got to start with a blank slate, so she didn’t have to wear the unpopular label anymore. Until she was expelled her senior year.

Now, back home, she’s lying to everyone about why she’s back, working at a grocery store, and being reminded of what a huge disappointment she is by her father. Then a frenemy from childhood goes missing, and Mary thinks the case has to be connected to another missing young woman who disappearance hasn’t gotten much attention because she’s a Black woman. With no one listening to her, she decides to look into it herself, including pretending to be a reporter to get access to family members.

Struggling with her own issues and pointing her energy into finding these women, she finds herself making more enemies as she inches closer to the truth and placing herself in danger…

(TW eating disorder/ fatphobia, bullying/ racism/ attempted suicide not completed, detail/ sharing of nude pic without permission)

The Less People Know About Us cover image

The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton

This is a great nonviolent true crime that will leave you thinking about it long after you finish it. Axton Betz-Hamilton grew up to become an identity theft expert after her family became victims of identity theft back before there were laws and information on the crime.

Betz-Hamilton takes you into her lonely childhood, her parents cutting them off from family and friends after their identity was stolen over a fear of not being able to trust anyone–a fear that she internalized–and into her college years where she became a victim of identity theft again. It’s a memoir about her life that centers the never being able to escape the damage from the crime that began when she was little, a crime that wasn’t actually solved until she was a grown adult.

Spoiler-y: The book unfolds giving you the information the way Betz-Hamilton grew up receiving it with the discovery of the crime’s perpetrator being a “twist” because that’s how it happened in her life. It wasn’t necessary though for the purpose of the book to be successful because 1. it’s a true story and 2. the impact is the same whether you know beforehand or not because the action stays the same.

(TW cancer/ disordered eating/ brief mention of past domestic abuse, miscarriage/ gaslighting)

From The Book Riot Crime Vault

The Best Legal Thrillers (That Aren’t by John Grisham)

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.

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

Today In Books

There’s A New NANCY DREW Spin-Off Series Coming: Today in Books

Batwoman Has Cast Agent Carter’s Bridget Regan as Poison Ivy

Batwoman season 3 is adding Poison Ivy, a.k.a. Pamala Isley, to its recurring cast of characters, and Bridget Regan has been cast in the role. Regan’s previous credits include Agent Carter, Jane the VirginGrey’s Anatomy, and White Collar. Also joining the series in this upcoming season are Robin Givens as Jada Jet, Nick Creegan as Jada’s son Marquis, and Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya. Batwoman season 3 premieres October 13th on the CW.

The 2021 Anthony Award Winners Have Been Announced

The 2021 Anthony Award Winners were announced over the weekend during a virtual celebration of Bouchercon, the world mystery convention. The award for best hardcover novel went to Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby; Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden won for best first novel; best paperback/e-book/audiobook original novel went to Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey; the award for best short story went to 90 Miles,” by Alex Segura, from Both Sides: Stories From the Border; Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco by Richie Narvaez won for best young adult novel; the winner for best critical nonfiction work was Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession, edited by Sarah Weinman; and best anthology or collection went to Shattering Glass: A Nasty Woman Press Anthology, edited by Heather Graham. You can see the full list of nominees and winners here.

There’s A New Nancy Drew Spin-Off Series Coming: Tom Swift

More news from the CW! The television network has announced a new Nancy Drew spinoff, Tom Swift. Like Nancy Drew, the new series Tom Swift is based on an early 20th century book series from the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The television series will star Tian Richards as Tom Swift, a Black, gay billionaire inventor who finds himself entangled in sci-fi conspiracy and unexplained phenomena after the disappearance of his father. Richards made his first appearance as Tom Swift in a May episode of Nancy Drew. The premiere date for the new series is still to be determined.

Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses: A New American Literary Award

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, which was just launched this week.

True Story

New Releases: Awesome Women + Physics

Welcome to your new release Wednesday for the week! Are you loving Kim’s Friday edition of the newsletter? I am. She talked about Mare of East Town last week, and it made me glad that someone I respect so much is also behind on popular HBO dramas.

Get into the new books! They all look great.

Dovey Undaunted cover

Dovey Undaunted: A Black Woman Breaks Barriers in the Law, the Military, and the Ministry by Tonya Bolden

Children’s author Bolden tells the story of Dovey Johnson Roundtree, famous for her “successful defense of an indigent Black man accused of the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer, a prominent white Washington, DC, socialite, in 1965.” Roundtree also was the first lawyer to bring a bus desegregation case before the Interstate Commerce Commission, “the first Black women to enter the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, and was one of the first ordained female ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.” Dovey Undaunted indeed!

real valkyrie cover

The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women by Nancy Marie Brown

Know that I pick this having the Funko Pop of Lagertha from Vikings on my bookshelf. In this history, Brown “lays to rest the hoary myth that Viking society was ruled by men and celebrates the dramatic lives of female Viking warriors.” Take that, hoary myth! It combines archaeology, history, and literature (amazing) to tell the story of a female Viking warrior found in a grave in Sweden. You also learn about medieval women like Queen Gunnhild Mother-of-Kings, the Viking leader known as The Red Girl, and Queen Olga of Kyiv. So cool.

fear of a black universe

Fear of a Black Universe: An Outsider’s Guide to the Future of Physics by Stephon Alexander

Alexander’s website describes himself as “a theoretical physicist specializing in cosmology, particle physics and quantum gravity.” Which is fancy. He emphasizes the importance of intuition and thinking outside the box (four dimensions! forget the three dimensional box) for great physics. Also how much we need diversity in science, which, as someone who regularly covers science/nature books in her newsletter/podcast, YES PLEASE. Give diverse scientists book deals!

For more nonfiction reads, check out the For Real podcast which I co-host with the excellent Kim here at Book Riot. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.

The Kids Are All Right

Kidlit Deals for September 1, 2021

Happy first day of September, kidlit pals! I hope that your pencils are sharp for this new school year! If you’re looking to stock up on some great kidlit deals, then I’ve got you covered! Make sure you grab them ASAP if you see something you like, because these deals won’t last long!

cover image of The Moon Within

The Moon Within by Aida Salazar is a lovely middle grade book about change, and it’s just $2.

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart is just $3.

For a book about a Guatemalan-American girl, pick up The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel by $3.

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love is a must-read picture book for just $2.

Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera is about a girl determined to be the first female pitcher in the Major League, for $3.

A reminder that Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri, this year’s Prtinz Award winner, is still on sale for $3.

Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki is just $5!

Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away by Meg Medina and Sonia Sánchez is a picture book about change, for just $2.

Happy reading!

The Stack


Riot Rundown




We’re giving away a $250 gift card to Powell’s Books, the country’s largest independent bookstore! Click here to enter.