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The Stack

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Giveaways

090121-Skyhunter-Giveaway

We’re giving away five copies of Skyhunter by Marie Lu to five lucky Riot readers!

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

Marie Lu’s adrenaline-laced novel is now available in paperback. Read it today and get ready for Steelstriker — the riveting conclusion to the Skyhunter duology, coming September 28, 2021.

“A timely story of fighting for what’s right.” —POPSUGAR

“An action-packed, fun read that’s also very smart.” —BUZZFEED

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Book Radar

C.L. Polk’s Kingston Cycle is Being Adapted for Television and More Book Radar!

Hello Book People!

I hope your week is going well. I’m just going to be honest and upfront right here at the start. It’s been a difficult week for those of us living near the Gulf Coast, and while I’m doing totally fine, I know many of my friends (and probably some of yours) have dealt with serious damage, flooding, loss of power, and more. If you would like to donate to the people and animals impacted by Hurricane Ida, I suggest checking out this Instagram post from thefabulouseileen that shares a lot of resources. If you are someone who has been affected by Ida, my heart goes out to you. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and that you’re taking care of yourself.

And now let’s talk about books, because even when stuff goes wrong in our lives, books are always there to comfort us. And that’s why we’re all here. Since Monday is a holiday, this newsletter is going to be a mash up of some of the things you’re used to seeing in Thursday’s newsletter, and some Monday things. I hope you enjoy.

Emily

Book Deals and Reveals

game on cover

Here’s the cover reveal for an exciting new YA anthology. Game On, edited by Laura Silverman, features new works from Sona Charaipotra, Kathleen Glasgow, Gloria Chao, and more!

C.L. Polk’s award-winning Kingston Cycle (WitchmarkStormsong, and Soulstar) is being adapted for television.

The 2021 Anthony Award winners have been announced.

MacArthur Genius Grant winner Jacqueline Woodson is publishing two new picture books for kids ages 5-8 in 2022, and here’s the cover reveal for one of them, The Year We Learned to Fly.

B.B. Alston’s Supernatural Investigations series will continue with Amari and the Great Game, out on April 5, 2022. Here’s the cover reveal!

Batwoman season 3 is adding Agent Carter’s Bridget Regan to the cast as Poison Ivy.

The first Cowboy Bebop comic, written by Dan Watters with art by Lamar Mathurin, is out in December.

New Line’s feature adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot has added Makenzie Leigh, Bill Camp, and Spencer Treat Clark to its cast.

H.E.R. will be making her acting debut in the upcoming musical feature film adaptation of The Color Purple.

Monday, August 30, 2021, marked the launch of a new literary prize, the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses

LeBron James has written a new children’s book, entitled We Are Family.

Here are 20 upcoming releases from small and university presses that you won’t want to miss.

Book Riot Recommends 

I’m a Contributing Editor at Book Riot, I write the Today in Books newsletter, and I’m a Bibliologist for Book Riot’s Tailored Book Recommendations subscription service. I also have a PhD in English, so I’m basically a doctor of books. Books are my life, in other words, so in this section of the newsletter, let me share with you some upcoming books I’m super excited about. And I think you will be too!

Can’t Wait for This One

Moon Witch, Spider King book cover

Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James (Riverhead Books, February 15, 2022)

Earlier this week, Marlon James announced the details of his upcoming follow-up to Black Leopard Red Wolf, and everyone is very excited. So the pick for the book I’m anticipating the most this week was an easy one. Moon Witch, Spider King is the second book in James’ Dark Star trilogy. This is a series that people keep comparing to Game of Thrones, which… fair enough. If you love fantasy and you’re looking for a new series to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in your heart, then I absolutely encourage you to pick up this series. But I want to stress that James’ series is definitely doing its own thing, and the characters, world-building, and general feel of this story is unlike anything you’ve read before.

So what is this second book going to be about, you ask? Rather than being a linear sequel to the first book in the series, Moon Witch, Spider King takes place at the same time as Black Leopard, Red Wolf, but this time, we’re getting the story from a different perspective. While the first novel was told from the perspective of Tracker, this one is told by Sogolon the Moon Witch, who was Tracker’s adversary in the first novel. Of course, this means she’s going to see the story much differently. And it also means you can absolutely pick up this new novel and enjoy it before or after reading the first book in the series.

In fact, Marlon James encourages readers who haven’t read Black Leopard, Red Wolf to try out this one first. In his interview with Gizmodo, James said, “Because this is not a linear trilogy, the reader who has not yet read Black Leopard, Red Wolf could absolutely start with Moon Witch, Spider King. In fact, I’m looking forward to hearing their take on the BLRW, having gotten to Sogolon first.”

So now, basically, this means you have no excuse to not pick up this book when it comes out in February.

Literary Words of Wisdom

“People often felt the need to prepare a side of themselves to display to passers-by – as they might in a store window – and that such a display needn’t be taken so seriously.”

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

What’s Up in the Bookish Community?

My iPhone is constantly telling me I spend too much time staring at my screen, which is honestly so rude. But this means I spend a lot of time scrolling around the online book community: BookTube, Bookstagram, BookTok, BookLinkedIn (JK. That’s not a thing… I don’t think). You get the idea. Don’t have the time, energy, or the will to do all of that yourself? No problem. I got you. In this weekly section of Book Radar, we’ll take a look at something cool, interesting, and/or newsy that’s going on in the book community.

This week, I’ve got more of just a general recommendation to keep you informed while you wait for me to come back in a week. I know. What will you do without me? (since I’m new here, I want to clarify that this was sarcasm… but I do really have a general recommendation for you)

If you’re wanting to keep up with all of the online book community gossip, Jess Owen‘s “Book CommuniTEA” YouTube videos are so informative and entertaining. Here’s a link to the most recent episode. Or if you’re looking to catch up on everything you’ve missed so far, here’s a playlist of all the videos so far.

Other Things That Make Me Happy

No playlist for you this week, but here’s an awesome music video, in honor of Beyoncé’s birthday this weekend. Our girl is turning 40!

Let’s keep Purrli going. What’s your favorite purr setting at the moment? Right now, I’m into a sleepy but lively purr on the “purrfect” end of things. Around one meow every four minutes just to keep things interesting.

And Here’s A Cat Picture!

orange cat closeup

Murray is sending us off for a long weekend here in his favorite pose, with his cute little paws folded under his chest in the perfect cat loaf position.

Murray is having deep thoughts about all the toys he’s going to play with this weekend and all the treats he’s going to try to steal.


And that’s this Thursday’s Book Radar! I’m going to miss checking in with everyone on Monday, but I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend. I hope you stay safe. And I hope you have a moment to rest and read. See you next Thursday!

❤️ Emily

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Kissing Books

More Witchy Romances, Please

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. 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. 

Welcome to September y’all! We made it to the third month of the third quarter and are almost through 2021. It seems hard to believe since part of me does feel like the year just started but part of me is also looking forward to what 2022 brings. Don’t get it twisted though; it’s a nice mix of excitement and apprehension. But it’s there. 

In case you’re curious I’m currently reading For the Love of April French, Sisters in Arms, and The Taking of Jake Livingston. I know, quite the variety huh? 

Book Riot Romance

Enemies to lovers and LGBTQ romances? Yes please!

If you’re a fan of Colleen Hoover, here is a list of books in that similar vein.

And if you like fake dating with a little extra kick, here is a list of fake fling romances to choose from.

Around the Web in Romance

It’s since passed, but the #TransBook365 was circulating on Twitter on August 30th, designed to uplift trans authors. If you follow the hashtag now, you’re sure to find a lot of good books (and not just romances) to read.

Did you want a pairing of 2021 romance novels as cocktails? If so, you’re in luck.

This art commission, done by the talented Maxx Fergus, for Marie Lipscomb’s Santa Claus Is Going To Town On Me is delightful.

Part of me hates to keep beating this dead horse, but another part recognizes that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Either way, this article is a really good take on why the controversy surrounding the RWA and ‘that’ book was such a big deal.

Here is a a ranking of the Bridgerton novels in terms of sexiness. And honestly? It’s spot on. Sorry Simon and Daphne super-fans; the book was not as sexy as the series. But the clinch still sizzles.  I’m glad to see my sweet Anthony got second place because that is still hands down the most hilarious compromising scene I have read in a romance novel. But I totally agree that Francesca’s book is, by far, the sexiest of the eight. I mean it’s called When He Was Wicked, so what did you expect?

There’s still time to bid on auctions to go towards helping Haiti recover from the recent earthquake! I loved seeing the news that, not even two hours in, they were almost a their first stretch goal. Again, I’m always proud of how Romancelandia comes together when it really matters!

Recommendations

So, the cover reveal of The Book Boyfriend really has me excited for this witchy romance. I’m sure just as many of us wanted to have the ability to use magic growing up. From Samantha from Bewitched to Buffy’s Willow, a woman who knows how to wield magic has always had a huge draw. I would wager most girls played pretend at being witches at one point growing up. And it makes sense. Historically, women haven’t had a lot of power. We all know that the reason most ‘witches’ were killed wasn’t because they had magical powers; it was because they refused to fit societal norms. It’s something that is even prevalent now in our day and time. 

As much as we’d like to think we’ve progressed so far, we really haven’t. Women are still having to fight for their deserved place at the table because, trust, we bring a lot to it. So, it makes sense that witches would also be prevalent characters. Which leads us to today’s recommendations for romances that feature a witch as the main character. 

Cover of A Taste of Magic

A Taste of Magic by Tracy Madison

On the one year anniversary of her ex-husband leaving her (which also happens to be her birthday), her bakery receives an order to make a cake for his upcoming wedding. So, needless to say it’s not the best day for her. However, she also finds out that she comes from a long line of magical women and it’s time for her to inherit the power. This magic is displayed in her baking and everyone who tastes it is affected, including her attractive new neighbor. This is a cute sweet read and was one of the first I got on my Kindle way back when. If you find yourself enjoying it, there are four more in the series that can be picked up as well. 

Cover of a Breath of Magic

Breath of Magic by Teresa Medeiros

Between an overly powerful amulet and a broomstick that took a wrong turn somewhere, seventeenth-century witch Arian finds herself in modern times in front of billionaire Tristan, a non-believer in all things magic. That description alone makes this sound like an intriguing one to pick up.

Cover of Black Witch Magic

Black Witch Magic by Mila Nicks

Selene much prefers books to the judgemental people in her town who are determined to cast all the women in her family, including her grandmother Luna, as evil witches. Aiden is a paranormal investigator who ends up in the town of Brimrock and is determined to uncover the mystery behind Luna, With Selene equally as determined to keep her grandmother safe, the two cross paths and end up falling under each other’s spell.


And that’s all I have for you today. As next Monday is a holiday here in the US, there won’t be a newsletter then but I’ll be back Thursday with the latest in romance news. Until then, give me a follow at Twitter under @PScribe801. Until we meet again!

Categories
In Reading Color

A Remixed Welcome

Welcome to the first issue of In Reading Color! This is a space to focus on literature by and about people of color.

It’s been great to see all the attention and acclaim that writers of color have been receiving just in the past few years alone. Of course, there is more work to be done in terms of truly making the literary world fair and equitable, but I’m glad to see how much progress has been made. Also, the stories are amazing, so there’s that. I’m fairly new to the Riot crew, but am a longtime follower and am super pumped (Eoww!) to get silly and real with y’all as we delve into works by authors of color.

Today’s topic: retellings.


The Mood is: Remixed

— or taking something familiar, rearranging it, and making something new.

Song Suggestions: Heart-Shaped Box and Thong Song (yes, that Thong Song, and you’re welcome) both covered by Amber Mark.

image of singer Amber Mark sitting with her back to the camera in a fluorescent pink and orange dress

“I can look for my story among the witches of Salem, but it isn’t there.” – Maryse Condé, I, Tituba Black Witch of Salem

This line from Maryse Condé’s 1986 novel– which I will definitely reference again before the year is over– is one of erasure. The past few hundred years have been a testament to how much entire cultures, traditions, etc. can be actively destroyed and lost to the annals of history. There are the Taino of the Caribbean, other Indigenous peoples of the Americas, and Black Americans, just to name a few, who have all had their stories rewritten, reimagined, or very simply erased in favor of a narrative that was deemed more convenient.

Because of this, I want to focus on retellings by authors of color. Why? Because I think many retellings are stories that have nestled into certain parts of our brains, providing a lens through which to see the world. By centering people of color in these narratives, a place in the collective subconscious is carved out for us, showing how we should have been there all along.

cover image of Pride- A Pride & Prejudice Remix by Ibi Zoboi

Pride: A Pride & Prejudice Remix by Ibi Zoboi

This Pride and Prejudice retelling features all characters of color. Zuri Benitez is a proud Afro-Latinx Brooklynite who is witnessing her neighborhood becoming more and more gentrified, but can do little to stop it. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in, she’s definitely not feeling their two teenaged sons– especially judgmental Darius– no matter how charming they may be. Well…. not at first, anyway. Zuri balances the pull of four rambunctious sisters, college applications, cute boys, and the realization that Darius might not be so bad after all.

Cover for The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

In this more overtly queer retelling of The Great Gatsby, a Vietnamese Jordan Baker tells the story of Daisy Buchanan’s and Jay Gatsby’s doomed relationship. Jordan’s adoption into the Baker family has brought her into a new world of old money and new magic where she tries to ignore the exoticism she’s labeled with. This is a perfect story to retell with a character of color as I feel like The Great Gatsby is about The American Dream (TM) and all the trappings of class and race that come with it. Plus, Vo just has beautiful prose. I mean, I can’t help but to stan.

cover image of Love in Color by Bolu Babalola

Love in Color by Bolu Babalola 

Rom-com expert and Queen of shooting her shot (I see you, sis) Bolu Babalola has assembled 13 short stories about love. All of these stories are retellings from mythology, and include everything from West African lore to Greek myths and Middle Eastern legends. She revisits tropes and fairy tales with an eye towards decolonization.

frankenstein in baghdad by ahmed saadawi book cover

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, translated by Jonathan Wright 

When local oddball Hadi goes to the site of a car bombing to collect his assistant’s body for burial, he finds not one body, but a collection of pieces from different bodies. In an effort to have those that died treated with respect, Hadi assembles the body parts into one to be buried. The only issue is that the newly assembled body goes missing and a string of strange murders start turning up all over the city. Saadwi was the first Iraqi to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for this brilliant retelling of the horror classic.

New Releases

So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow

This book out today rethinks a story that has become an American standard and tells it in 1863 when the Civil War is in full swing. The March family has established itself in the developing Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island where recently emancipated people have set roots. We follow the four March daughters– Meg the teacher, Jo the writer, Beth the seamstress, and Amy the dancer– as they come into their own. I feel like I don’t come across enough stories of Black people during this time that don’t have us in chains, so seeing a different side of Black family life during this time is refreshing.

cover image of Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

As we become more acquainted, I’m sure you’ll notice my absolute adoration for Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Here, street kid Domingo meets Atl, a beautiful and mesmerizing descendent of Aztec blood drinkers. They try to make it out of Mexico City alive with the threat of rival vampires, cops, and criminals closing in on them from all sides. This re-release is also out today.

A Little Sumn Extra

C.L. Polk’s award-winning Kingston Cycle is being adapted for T.V.

The Boston Library is going through it.

Here is an Indigenous book club to join

Fellow Rioter Danika Ellis gives us a way to make sure we don’t just talk about Trans books when there is a tragedy.


It’s been awesome hanging with you! If you want to reach out and connect, email me at erica@riotnewmedia.com or tweet at me @erica_eze_. You can find me on the Hey YA podcast with reigning Queen of YA, Kelly Jensen, as well in the In The Club newsletter.

Until next week!

Categories
Today In Books

Alicia Keys Adapts GIRL ON FIRE Into YA Graphic Novel: Today in Books

C.L. Polk’s Award-Winning Kingston Cycle is Being Adapted for Television

C.L. Polk’s award-winning Kingston Cycle is being adapted into a television series! 1212 Entertainment has acquired the rights to the series, which consists of Witchmark, Stormsong, and Soulstar. Alyssa Clark (Teen WolfDominionServantThe 100) will write the screenplay. Polk said in a statement that the upcoming adaptation is a “dream come true,” adding, “I am delighted by the prospect of watching the story of Kingston unfold one episode at a time. I’m excited by this team’s vision and I’m looking forward to every minute of it.” A date, cast, and crew has not been announced as of yet.

Alicia Keys Adapts “Girl On Fire” Into YA Graphic Novel

Alicia Key’s 2012 hit single “Girl On Fire” is now the inspiration for a young adult graphic novel set to release next year. HarperCollins Publishers announced the project on Tuesday, stating that the graphic novel would tell the story of 14-year-old Lolo Wright who has telekinetic powers. Alicia Keys cowrote the book with Andrew Weiner, and it is illustrated by Brittney Williams. Keys said in a statement, “When Andrew and I came up with the idea of translating the song into a young adult graphic novel, I knew that I wanted it to be about a girl coming to realize the strength she’s always had. There’s a little Lolo in all of us — we all have the power inside to do what we never even thought we could — and I’m so proud and crazy excited to be able to share her story with you. You’re going to fall in love with Lolo.” The graphic novel will be on on March 1, 2022.

Family of Ducks Waddles Through University of Nottingham Library

Who needs a little bit of cute animal news to get through your Wednesday? Earlier today, a family of ducks waddled into the University of Nottingham Library. The duck family made their way into the library through an open door and appeared “totally calm and unflustered” as they waddled around the atrium of the library. Senior library advisor Stuart Warren said, “You often come across ducks in seemingly odd places around campus, but that was definitely the oddest place I’ve seen them.” The ducks were eventually ushered safely out of the library.

Billions of Dollars in Library Funding Hang in the Balance During Congressional Budget Negotiation

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a $3.5 trillion federal funding package for fiscal year 2022 (FY22). Here’s how library advocates are fighting for increased federal funding–and what you can do to help.

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Our Queerest Shelves

A Queer Office Satire, Non-Binary Cyberpunk, and More LGBTQ Books Out This Week

As I’m writing this, I am about to pack up the car for my first camping trip in years, and I’m so excited. By the time you read this, I’ll be back — hopefully it all went smoothly! I am ready for some vegan s’mores and to tackle my TBR (but not at the same time, because that would be messy).

Today I wanted to highlight Trans Lifeline, a hotline run by and for trans people. In addition to the hotline, they also provide microgrants to help trans people correct their ID (especially trans people of color) as well as microgrants for trans health care and for trans people who are incarcerated. You can find out more at the Trans Lifeline website, and you can donate to help them in their work.


Resources You Need To Know: LGBTQ Reads

If you read queer YA, Dahlia Adler’s LGBTQ Reads is an essential website to know. It’s packed full of so many resources, I’m not even sure where to start describing them!

Dahlia Adler is bisexual author who primarily writes YA and New Adult as well as editing YA anthologies. Under the Lights and Cool for the Summer are two of her queer titles, and her anthologies — like His Hideous Heart: 13 of Edgar Allan Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined and That Way Madness Lies: 15 of Shakespeare’s Most Notable Works Reimagined — include queer stories.

Of course, Adler doesn’t stop at just writing great queer books. For five years, she’s been maintaining the best queer YA book site on the internet, LGBTQ reads. The blog is filled with all kinds of content, including monthly new releases (which I definitely crib from for titles in these newsletters), interviews with authors, cover reveals, Fave Five posts of recommendations on a theme, guest posts, and lots more.

She also has a feature called Under the Gaydar for queer books that don’t reveal the queer content on the front or back cover, so that closeted people (especially kids and teens) can access them without being outed.

But the blog posts are only scratching the surface. Adler also maintains a ton of lists to try to match you with exactly the book you’re looking for. In the top bar, there are lots of categories to choose from, including:

Those are just a few of the pages available, and Adler does a superhuman job of keeping them updated with new additions.

It doesn’t stop at this website, though. Adler runs an LGBTQ Reads tumblr, where you can ask for recommendations of any kind of queer book, including anonymously, and she will give you titles. I cannot fathom how she manages to keep up with both of these on top of being a parent and writing books. She also has started a TikTok account, because of course she has.

I hope that you start following LGBTQ Reads if you haven’t already, because it’s such a wealth of information, and Dahlia Adler is doing so much to promote queer books and help LGBTQ readers. If you want to show her some support, she also has a Patreon. At the top tier, Adler will send you a hand-selected book every month!

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke cover

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke (Queer Satire)

If you use Slack, you already recognize the title reference. In this satire of office life, an employee is uploaded into the Slack interface. His coworkers think it’s a bit, but he is able to convince one of them to try to help him escape. This is a surreal commentary on modern work life, with a queer romantic subplot. If you’re unfamiliar with Slack, this is likely going to be a tough hang, but either way, get ready for a weird and memorable read.

In the Watchful City cover

In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu (Non-binary Bio-Cyberpunk)

This is being described as a “Asian-inspired mosaic novella” about Anima, an extrasensory non-binary person who is part of the Gleaming, a living network that keeps the city safe. When a visitor arrives with a box of objects from around the world and describes them to ær, it changes Anima’s perception. This is a collection of fragmented stories that will challenge and intrigue readers. Two of the main characters, Anima and the visitor, are non-binary and use neopronouns (æ/ær and se/ser).

For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes (Trans woman M/F Romance)

Tell Me Anything (Light Gets In #1) by Skye Kilaen (Bi M/Bi F Romance)

Queen of Teeth by Hailey Piper (Queer Horror)

The Devil You Know by Kit Rocha (Bisexual Science Fiction)

Tobyn: The It Girl by Ashley Woodfolk (Lesbian YA Contemporary)

The Flyers by Beth Turley (Sapphic Middle Grade)

This Little Rainbow by Joan Holub, illustrated by Daniel Roode (LGBTQ Board Book)

Are You This? Or Are You This? by Madian Al Jazerah (Gay Memoir)


That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at the Lesbrary as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books on the first Tuesday of the month, and I post weekly New Releases videos on the Book Riot Youtube channel. You can bet I sneak in as many queer titles as I can.

Happy reading!

Danika

Categories
What's Up in YA

Throwback Adaptations and More of Your YA Book News and New Books: September 2, 2021

Hey YA Readers!

Welcome to a brand new month. September is right up there with June as my favorite of the year, and we’re in for a whole host of great new reads this month to celebrate.

Let’s catch up on the latest in news and new titles this week.

YA Book News

New YA Books This Week

Hardcover

Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

Forestborn by Elayne Audrey Becker (first in a series)

A Psalm of Storms and Silence Book Cover

Last Witnesses (Young Reader Edition) by Svetlana Alexievich

The Last Words We Said by Leah Scheier

A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Roseanne A. Brown (series)

Take Me With You When You Go by David Levithan and Jennifer Niven

The Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins

The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith

Paperback

the woods are always watching book cover

The Assignment by Liza Wiemer

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare (series)

Disclose by Joelle Charbonneau (series)

Flyy Girls: Tobyn by Ashley Woodfolk (series)

Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher

Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross

This Week at Book Riot


Thanks for hanging out, y’all. We’ll see you on Saturday with ebook deals for your long weekend — and that long weekend means no newsletter on Monday so you can enjoy the extra reading time.

— Kelly Jensen, @heykellyjensen on Instagram

Categories
Audiobooks

Witchy Season Approaches!

Hello Audiophiles! As much of the country prepares for a fall filled with Pumpkin Spice lattes, I continue to sit on my porch down here in the South, sipping my pineapple juice and greeting the neighborhood lizards. In the Low Country, we rarely feel even a whisper of chill in the air until October, at the earliest. But, while I dream of mountainsides covered in splashes of autumn foliage, Dylan continues to live his best life toasting his hammies in the sun.

This past weekend, I spent hours installing new shelves in my dining room. There’s nothing like a good home improvement project to give you some quality audiobook time. In fact, I seem to have my groove back, finishing more audiobooks in August than any other month so far this year! So why don’t we jump in and start chatting about a few of them?

A photo of Dylan the red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi sitting on a gray wooden porch.
A graphic of the cover of White Magic by Elissa Washuta

White Magic by Elissa Washuta

As witchy season approaches, I thought it would be a perfect time to feature one of my favorite books from this year, White Magic by Elissa Washuta. In the first essay in this collection, Washuta examines the settler ideas around white magic and how many elements from those practices have been culturally appropriated from Indigenous communities. As someone who practices spells and bindings, Washuta provides a unique perspective on the topic.

With each essay, Washuta seems to choose seemingly very different ideas, but as she writes about them, she slowly pulls them together until you finally understand how the two ideas are intimately intertwined. It’s almost its own unique kind of magic.

But one of the key points of why I love this audiobook stems from how Washuta tackles topics around disability. As someone who experiences chronic and mental illness, Washuta gives listeners a unique perspective on the way disability can affect one’s art. Too many people throughout history have romanticized chronic illness, mental illness, and alcoholism, often implying that the artist never would have been as good if they hadn’t experienced these conditions. Washuta shoves aside these romantic notions and takes a realistic look at the lives of other artists and her own.

Kyla Garcia performs the audiobook well, giving us glimpses into Washuta’s narrative voice as well as keeping the audio clear of too many distractions. I can only imagine how the jumping back and forth of ideas, which are clearly notes on the printed page, could be tricky to narrate on audio. But Garcia definitely seemed up for the challenge!

Narrated by Kyla García (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez and There There by Tommy Orange)

Recent Releases

A graphic of the cover of Fast Pitch by Nic Stone

Fast Pitch by Nic Stone

I love a great middle grade novel! In Fast Pitch, Shenice is the captain of a softball team called the Firebirds. I don’t want to share too much since I don’t want to spoil the plot, but there’s family secrets, team drama, and a young Black girl coming into her own as a confident athlete. Nic Stone is also a fabulous audiobook narrator. 

Read by the Author

A graphic of the cover of A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

From the bestselling author of Girl on the Train comes A Slow Fire Burning, a new mystery novel featuring a cast of characters hopelessly entangled in each other’s lives. When a young man and his mother are found dead, one right after the other, the police begin to question their family members, lovers, in-laws and neighbors, searching for the culprit. Rosamund Pike is a brilliant narrator, as always.

Narrated by Rosamund Pike (Restless by William Boyd and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

A graphic of the cover of My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

As a huge fan of Stephen Graham Jones, I’ve had this book pre-ordered for months now. As we follow Jade Daniels and learn more about her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films and books, listeners will quickly realize that My Heart Is a Chainsaw is a love letter to all things horror. Cara Gee performs the audiobook in a way that perfectly captures Jade Daniels’ narrative voice.

Narrated by Cara Gee (Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse and In Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White)

A graphic of of the cover of Three Rooms by Jo Hamya

Three Rooms by Jo Hamya

I first heard about Three Rooms on Debutfiul, a podcast dedicated to promoting and celebrating authors’ debut books. Once I heard Jo Hamya talk about how her book came to be, I immediately went and looked up the audiobook. Three Rooms captures the Millennial struggle to “make it” in a world bogged down by recession after recession. This also appears to be Jin Lusi’s debut audiobook, and she does a fabulous job! I will definitely be waiting to see what she narrates next.

Narrated by Jin Lusi

A graphic of the cover of Revelator by Daryl Gregory

Revelator by Daryl Gregory

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee sits a cave where a deity called Ghostdaddy lives. At least, that’s what Stella’s family says. It’s 1933, and nine-year-old Stella is left in the car of her grandmother, and she’s about to find out that her Appalachian family’s history is much more sinister than she imagined. Narrated by Reagan Boggs with just the right amount of Southern Appalachian dialect, this audiobook will make you want to look around corners just to see if something is there.

Narrated by Reagan Boggs (No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily)

Over on Book Riot

8 Native Memoirs on Audio from Erin and Dani’s Book Club” – I gush about how much I love Erin and Dani’s Book Club and their fabulous selection of Native memoirs.

Around the Web

European Mysteries on Audio: Celebrating Women in Translation Month” (Audiofile Magazine) – Perfect for wrapping up women in translation month!

How to Become an Audiobook Narrator” (Audible) – A fabulous article from Audible for folks wanting to become an audiobook narrator—it even includes resources!


I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at kendra@readingwomenpodcast.com or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra