Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, book friends! I hope you had an amazing weekend. I watched all of What We Do in the Shadows, which I quite enjoyed, and read some great books. Today, I am looking forward to picking up You Feel It Just Below the Ribs by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson, and All the Feels by Olivia Dade. And I will definitely be buying multiple copies of Wish It Lasted Forever: Life With the Larry Bird Celtics by Dan Shaughnessy for several family members. (Don’t worry, they don’t read this, lol.)

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Tirzah and I discussed You Sexy Thing, Tidesong, ExtraOrdinary, and more.

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

cover of The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times Magazine, blue with white font over an image of an old ship

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times Magazine

This should be required reading for everyone. This book expands on the project started in the New York Times in 2019, the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slave ships in America. It covers the history of the United States with the contributions of Black people and the history of slavery as the center focus, something that is usually left out of history books, even today. It features contributions from some of today’s most incredibel writers, including Yaa Gyasi, Darryl Pinckney, Claudia Rankine, Jason Reynolds, and Jesmyn Ward. Grab a copy or two as soon as you can, because it’s going to go fast.

Backlist bump: Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 by Ibram X. Kendi (Not quite backlist yet, but too important not to mention.)

cover of A Net For Small Fishes by Lucy Jago, black with a dried yellow plant stalk and leaves

A Net For Small Fishes by Lucy Jago

And calling all history fans: This is an excellent debut historical novel based on the true scandal of the Jacobean court. It’s about the friendship between Frances Howard, the wife of the Earl of Essex, and Anne Turner. Bonds are made and broken in an instant in the court, and friendships and fortunes can change in the drop of a fancy hat. The women struggle to take charge of their own futures and write themselves a happy ending, but risking everything means they could lose it all.

Backlist bump: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

cover of noor by nnedi okorafor, featuring the head and shoulders of a young Black woman, who is basking in the sun

Noor by Nnedi Okorafor 

And the amazing author of Binti, Remote Control, and more, is back with this great novella! Set in a near-future Nigeria, it’s about a young woman named Anwuli Okwudili, who has several body augmentations, and ends up on the run across the deserts of Northern Nigeria after a bloody confrontation at the local market. Who can AO trust, and how will the story of this technologically advanced woman end? It’s a great book that takes on race, class, and colonialism in a fast-paced adventure story. You’ll read it so fast, you’ll get whiplash!

Backlist bump: Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at Audiobooks.com with a free trial!

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of murder most actual by alexis hall, featuring a woman with short gray hair and glasses and a Black woman with long braids back to back and holding hands in from of an ominous castle

Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall (Kobo original, out now.)

This is not an upcoming book, but one that is available now exclusively through Kobo! And it is a freaking DELIGHT. Liza and her wife, Hanna, are having relationship troubles, so Hanna booked them a romantic getaway at a castle in Scotland. Which is part of why they’re having troubles—Liza feels like Hanna never asks her what she wants, she just goes ahead and does stuff, like booking them a trip. Hanna is a financial advisor who makes mad bank and works a lot of hours, and she is beginning to resent all the time Liza spends working on her true crime podcast, which grows in popularity each week, because it cuts in on their free time. Is a weekend in a remote location with a bunch of stuffy aristocrats the answer for their marital woes?

Because you know what might not be good for a relationship in trouble? A giant snowstorm that traps everyone in the castle, including a mysterious femme fatale with designs on Liza and an unknown murderer, who has started offing the guests. There’s no escape and no way to call for help. But now Liza now has the chance to show Hanna her podcast isn’t just a hobby and solve an actual case, and she and Hanna will learn what lengths they will go to in order to keep each other safe.

This is a fun satirical take on Agatha Christie and classic locked room mysteries. Hall does an excellent job nailing down all the situations and characters you find in those stories. But he also adds a couple of twists, including two things I really loved that I can’t mention because they’re spoilers, so you’ll have to hit me up after you read it.

(CW for violence and murder, mentions of infidelity and suicide.)

two orange cats and a gray calico sitting in front of a wooden door.

This week: I am currently reading The Verifiers by Jane Pek and Glass Coffin (The Darkwood Series Book 3) by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch. Outside of books, I’ve started rewatching Pushing Daisies for the umpteenth time, and the song stuck in my head is Twenty Miles To NH (Part 2) by The National. And as promised, here is a cat picture! This past week, Millay turned 11 and Farrokh and Zevon turned 3, so here is a rare picture of all three of the birthday fur babies. ❤️


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, star bits! It’s time for new books! I hope you’ve had a good start to your week and found something amazing to read. Today, I am looking forward to picking up Nazaré by JJ Amaworo Wilson, because I enjoyed Damnificados so much. If you’re a Ken Follett fan, his standalone thriller Never is out today, and there’s a new Catherynne M. Valente: Comfort Me With Apples. And I’m also wildly curious about the memoirs Unguarded by Scottie Pippen and My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska? by Alaska Thunderf**k 5000. So much to check out this week! And if you don’t have enough on your TBR, I made this for you.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Vanessa and I discussed The Sentence, The Undertakers, O Beautiful, and more.

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

cover of The Perishing by Natashia Deón, dark blue with a silhouette of a photo of a Black woman with multicolored chalk lines outlining her face

The Perishing by Natashia Deón

A young Black woman wakes up naked in an alley in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Lou has no memory of how she got there, but she does have a strong sense that this has happened before. People seem familiar, like she already knows them. After getting stuck in this time, she goes on to become the first Black woman journalist in L.A. Lou will investigate her own life in this time period, to figure out why it all seems so familiar—and what destiny has in store for her. This is a remarkable book, but I fully admit that it is very complex and I found it hard to follow at times. But I still loved it. (CW for mentions of violence, war, racism, abuse, and assault.)

Backlist bump: Grace by Natashia Deón

cover of Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King, featuring an abstract painting in teal, peach, red, and pale yellow, with large white font over it

Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King

I love everything Lily King writes. It seems impossible that King’s last book, Writers & Lovers, only came out in March of 2020, because I feel like I have been thinking about it forever. But here we are, with a whole new book to read. This is a fantastic collection of stories, King’s first, filled with love, loss, triumph, and heartbreak. There’s tales of a painful college reunion, a grandfather’s rage, a bookseller’s new love, and more. These are ten powerful stories of raw emotion about the helplessness of being human. You may want to savor them so your heart doesn’t break.

Backlist bump: Writers & Lovers by Lily King

cover of The Library: A Fragile History by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen, featuring an inside shot of the shelves of the Library of Trinity College Dublin

The Library: A Fragile History by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen

And this one is so in our wheelhouses, it’s almost like cheating. But who doesn’t love a book about libraries?! This is exactly as advertised: a fascinating look into libraries past and present, the collecting and theft of rare books, and the future of libraries. For those of you who yell “TOO SOON!” whenever someone mentions the burning of the Library of Alexandria, this book is for you!

Backlist bump: I really wanted to recommend A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas A. Basbanes, but it is no longer readily available in print. So instead, here’s your reminder that you should definitely have Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen and Kevin Hawkes and The Library by Sarah Stewart and David Small in your collection.

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of The Temps by Andrew DeYoung, fluorescent green with fluorescent yellow and pink stencil images of people in suits wearing gas masks

The Temps by Andrew DeYoung (Keylight Books, March 29, 2022)

First of all, you know how I love a book cover you can see from space. I am surprised more covers aren’t this loud. Why wouldn’t you want your cover to jump out at potential readers?? Good news, the inside is just as wild, too. This is a fun dystopian satire about office work and a hazardous outbreak in a tech company building.

Jacob Elliot is getting nowhere in his career, so he begrudgingly takes a temporary job in the mailroom at Delphi Enterprises, a Google-like tech company. But Jacob is about to have a horrible first day of work: During a meeting of all the company’s executives in the auditorium, something poisonous gets into the air vents. It kills everyone in the room, leaving only the interns and low-paid employees left in the building.

Jacob is sort of put in a leadership position of this motley group, who don’t know what the toxic event is that has occurred, only that it isn’t safe to leave the building. So they start their own version of society, a community of sorts, in the enormous building. But playing at a new paradise doesn’t please everyone. And there’s also the problem of rations and power. And as the survivors search around for supplies and answers, they uncover a much darker conspiracy that may go all the way to the top.

Despite its high body count and some serious events, this is a fun and funny read about a locked room mystery of sorts, and a sharp stab at the tech world. Kinda like Lord of the Flies set in Silicon Valley. (CW for mentions of mass illness and death, chemical use, violence, assault, and murder.)

two orange cats sitting on top of a gray bookcase and both looking at the camera; photo by Liberty Hardy

This week: I am currently reading City of Orange by David Yoon. (I abandoned the Agent Pendergast series from Preston and Child due to time constraints, but not forever.) Outside of books, I’ve been watching old episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and the song stuck in my head is I Love You, Goodbye by Thomas Dolby. And as promised, here is a cat picture! I’m pretty sure I interrupted something important.


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

New Books for the First Tuesday of November!

Happy Tuesday, book lovers! I hope you had a fun Halloween, if you celebrated. I didn’t go out but I did make myself the scariest costume I could think of (the cats were very stingy with the candy, though). Now, the reason we are all here: BOOKS. There are lots of great books today. I am looking forward to picking up Pity the Beast by Robin McLean and Blue-Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu, I am excited for my copy of Bibliophile: Diverse Spines by Jamise Harper and Jane Mount to come in! Oooo, and I want to remind you check out our new podcast, Adaptation Nation, all about TV and film adaptations of your favorite books! You can subscribe to it on your podcatcher of choice. 😀

Below, you’ll find titles (loosely) broken up into several categories, to make it easier for your browsing convenience. I hope you have fun with it! And as with each first Tuesday newsletter, I am putting a ❤️ next to the books that I have had the chance to read and loved.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Danika and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as A Marvellous Light, Blue-Skinned Gods, The Collective, and more. Lots of great Halloween-y books for the season!

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

Biography and Memoir

cover of You Can't Be Serious by Kal Penn, featuring the actor in a blue tuxedo shirt with several make up artists fussing over him

Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit by John Boessenecker

Noël Coward on (and in) Theatre by Noël Coward and Barry Day 

Solid Ivory: A Memoir by James Ivory

The Education of Corporal John Musgrave: A Memoir by John Musgrave

You Can’t Be Serious by Kal Penn

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir by Ai Weiwei

Fiction

cover of New York, My Village by Uwem Akpan, featuring painting of a book standing on end with a fork in front of it

New York, My Village by Uwem Akpan 

The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

Brickmakers by Selva Almada

Everything We Didn’t Say by Nicole Baart 

Eternal Night at the Nature Museum by Tyler Barton 

Suiza by Bénédicte Belpois, Alison Anderson (translator)

Single Black Female by Tracy Brown

Carry the Dog by Stephanie Gangi

Burntcoat by Sarah Hall ❤️

The Surrogate by Toni Halleen

Lean Your Loneliness Slowly Against Mine by Klara Hveberg, Alison McCullough (Translator) 

The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe, Lilit Thwaites (translator)

The Pilot’s Daughter by Meredith Jaeger 

cover of The Family by Naomi Krupitsky, photo of two women in 1950s garb linking arms

The Family by Naomi Krupitsky ❤️

The Making of Incarnation by Tom McCarthy ❤️

The Easy Life in Kamusari by Shion Miura, Juliet Winters Carpenter (translator)

God of Mercy by Okezie Nwoka

The London House by Katherine Reay

Bar Maid by Daniel Roberts 

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak ❤️

Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart 

Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez, Christina MacSweeney (translator) ❤️

Still Life by Sarah Winman 

Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu

Middle Grade

cover of Vacancy by K. R. Alexander, featuring a lighted vacancy sign in front of a scary old house

Vacancy by K. R. Alexander

Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy by Misty Copeland and Salena Barnes

Mystery and Thriller

The Collective by Alison Gaylin ❤️

Shoot the Moonlight Out by William Boyle ❤️

Under an Outlaw Moon by Dietrich Kalteis

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris ❤️

Miss Moriarty, I Presume? (The Lady Sherlock Series Book 6) by Sherry Thomas

New Year by Juli Zeh, Alta L. Price (translator)

Nonfiction

cover of Bibliophile: Diverse Spines by Jamise Harper and Jane Mount, featuring illustration of a stack of books by authors of color

Bibliophile: Diverse Spines by Jamise Harper and Jane Mount ❤️

Rebel Homemaker: Food, Family, Life by Drew Barrymore 

The Uninnocent: Notes on Violence and Mercy by Katharine Blake 

The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning by Paul Bloom

Frequently Asked Questions about the Universe by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson 

The How: Notes on the Great Work of Meeting Yourself by Yrsa Daley-Ward 

Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League by Britni de la Cretaz and Lyndsey D’Arcangelo

Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive by Philipp Dettmer

Speaking of Race: Why Everybody Needs to Talk About Racism—and How to Do It by Celeste Headlee

Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos by Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa

Tacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have to Offer by Rax King

The Farmer’s Lawyer: The North Dakota Nine and the Fight to Save the Family Farm by Sarah Vogel

Romance

A Certain Appeal by Vanessa King ❤️

I Hate You More by Lucy Gilmore

How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K.M. Jackson

The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu

Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Horror

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske ❤️

Blue-Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu 

The God of Lost Words (A Novel from Hell’s Library) by A. J. Hackwith ❤️

Pity the Beast by Robin McLean

Something More Than Night by Kim Newman

Brothers of the Wind by Tad Williams

Young Adult

A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome by Ariel Henley ❤️

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Into the Bloodred Woods by Martha Brockenbrough

A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Roseanne A. Brown 

Fat Angie: Homecoming by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo 

Going Viral: A Socially Distant Love Story by Katie Cicatelli-Kuc

image of Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora edited by Saraciea J. Fennell

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora by Saraciea J. Fennell ❤️

Blame It on the Mistletoe by Beth Garrod

The Ghost Tracks: The San Antonio Supernatural Detective Agency by Celso Hurtado

The Story of More (Adapted for Young Adults): How We Got to Climate Change and Where We Go from Here by Hope Jahren 

Gilded by Marissa Meyer 

Faith: Greater Heights by Julie Murphy

Cupcake by Cookie O’Gorman

Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards

Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross

Tiny Dancer by Siena Cherson Siegel and Mark Siegel

You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith ❤️


an orange cat with its paws curled over its face

This week: I’m currently reading Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro. Outside of books, I’m still working my watch through a Succession rewatch, and the song stuck in my head is The Highwayman from Over the Garden Wall. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Same, Farrokh, same.


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, star bits! It’s time new books! I hope you’ve had a good start to your week and found something amazing to read. I am looking forward to several of today’s new releases, including Paul Auster’s Burning Boy, a biography of Stephen Crane (who wrote my favorite poem In the Desert), and both A Long Way from Douala by Max Lobe and Ros Schwartz (translator) and The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams by Mindy Thompson sound really great. And congratulations to Rioter Erin Mayer, whose excellent debut novel Fan Club is out today!

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I discussed Where They Wait, Being Seen, Donut Fall in Love, and more.

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

We Light Up the Sky by Lilliam Rivera

This is an exciting, powerful YA novel about an alien invasion in Los Angeles. Pedro, Luna, and Rafa are three Latinx teens who attend Fairfax High School together, although they’re not really friends, but they’re brought together by unbelievable circumstances. Because aliens have decided that humans do not deserve Earth, so they’ve sent a representative to check the planet out and ready it for annihilation. When the Visitor arrives, it assumes the form of Luna’s dead cousin, Tasha, which confuses everyone. Pedro, Luna, and Rafa wind up on the run together from Alien Tasha, while also trying to foil her plans. Complicating matters is the behavior of the police, who are still trying to detain and arrest people in the middle of an alien invasion. While an alien invasion may never happen (but who knows anymore), the rest of the story is all too real. I loved the relationships and road blocks that pop up in the character’s lives, and all the action, too. (CW for violence, death, illness, pandemic, police violence and killings, people experiencing houselessness, racism, and bullying.)

Backlist bump: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

cover of The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller, a painting of a man and a dog and a shack in the middle of a white tundra, under a blue sky

The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller

Okay, I must be completely honest with you: I am only one-third of the way through this because I only got my hands on it right before I started writing this newsletter. But it’s quite remarkable—remarkable enough that I felt the need to include it anyway. It’s about a Swedish man in the early 20th century named Sven Ormson. Sven leaves Stockholm to find a life of quiet and solitude near the Arctic circle, and after a traumatic injury, retreats completely into isolation. But he learns that his quest for solitude will lead him to the most important relationships he has made in his life. The writing is unbelievably gorgeous and the story is a roller coaster of emotions. I can’t wait to finish it. (My incomplete list of CW so far include body shaming, peril, injury, and trauma.)

Backlist bump: Tinkers by Paul Harding

cover of As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall, featuring a hose seen through the leaves on a tree

As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall

And last, but not least, this is a fun debut thriller! It’s about a journalist named Jordan Manning in Chicago. Jordan has a master’s degree in forensic science and uses her keen instincts for crime in her reporting. She tries to give voice to young Black women victims, whose murders have gone unreported and overlooked. But when a teen girl is killed, it hits Jordan particularly hard, and the arrest of three young boys doesn’t strike her as the correct solution to the case. So Jordan decides to investigate the case herself, but she just might end up being a news story instead. What makes this story more fun is the fact that Hall herself is a journalist. And this novel is definitely an exciting page turner, but do not believe the ‘cozy mystery’ label that has been attached to it. It’s not a cozy! (CW for racism, violence, murder, and sexual assault.)

Backlist bump: Notorious by Allison Brennan

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of A House Between Earth and the Moon by Rebecca Scherm, rainbow patterned with a door in the middle

A House Between Earth and the Moon by Rebecca Scherm (Viking, March 29, 2022)

Oh, how I loved this novel! It’s so fantastic. Imagine it’s the future and the Earth is really bad off. (Not that hard to imagine, right?) The temperature of the planet is raging out of control, and heat and fires are causing massive deaths. So scientist Alex Welch-Peters is sent into space by the giant tech company Sensus to work on his project: creating a strain of algae that will eat up carbon emissions and reverse climate change. He’s been workin gon it for two decades and is close to a solution, but his passion for his work has cost him his marriage. Alex’s lab is housed in Parallaxis, a space station being built for billionaires who have invested heavily in the project so they can leave the hellscape that is Earth behind.

There are a lot of problems at Parallaxis right away, starting with the fact that it isn’t even done being built. Meanwhile, back on home, Alex’s family is dealing with problems of their own. Technology has advanced to the point where people wear their Sensus phones as implants in their ears, and Alex’s daughter Mary Agnes is being bullied by a classmate who has sent around an upsetting video to the other students to humiliate her. Mary Agnes wants to join her dad in space, but her mother won’t let her.

There’s also the founders of Sensus, two brilliant and opportunistic sisters, who are locked in a sibling rivalry over the fate of Parallaxis and what must be done to placate their investors. And Tess, a young social psychologist who has been hired by Sensus to monitor the team on the space station and create an algorithm that predicts human behavior, who becomes obsessed with her work.

I’m doing a terrible job trying to compress all the incredible and heartbreaking things involved in telling this amazing story of family, technology, and the future. Parts of it reminded me of We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker, and parts were like In the Quick by Kate Hope Day. But all together, it is its own remarkable story of survival in the face of the consequences of our own actions. This book haunts me, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it. (CW for illegal surveillance, attempted rape, suicide, illness, mass shootings, and mass deaths.)

an orange cat and a gray calico cat sitting in the sun in a green chair and a floral rug

This week: On top of The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven, I’m currently reading The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake and I’m still working on The Book of Death in the Agent Pendergast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, the Celtics have kicked off their new season (what an opener!), and I got a gaming laptop for my anniversary, so I’ve been playing a lot of World of Warcraft again. (YOU NO TAKE CANDLE!) And the song stuck in my head is Chaise Longue by Wet Leg. And as promised, here is a cat picture! It’s a two-fur-one: Farrokh and Millay are soaking up some rays.


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, my little book fans! It’s time new books! This Tuesday’s awesome new releases include Oh William!, the new novel by Elizabeth Strout and Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, a great horror novella. (If you like scary house stories, you’ll want to pick it up!) I’m also looking forward to reading Nina Simone’s Gum by Australian musician Warren Ellis.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Tirzah and I discussed Flowers for the Sea, This Is Our Rainbow, The White Ship, and more.

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

Cover of Little Thieves by Margaret Owen, featuring outline of girl in red in front of outlines of figures in gray

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

I talked about this on All the Books a couple weeks ago but then the release date got moved, so I am going to mention it again here, because it’s one of the best fantasy books of the year! It’s a a somewhat-retelling of the fairy tale The Goose Girl. Vanja, a young woman who was raised by Fortune and Death, became a servant and while in the employ of the princess, stole her magic necklace. Now Vanja appears as the princess, and while attending swanky events, she’s pulling off robberies to get enough money to split town. But when the princess’s betrothed and a hunter looking to get to the bottom of the crimes both show up, she thinks she’s got real trouble on her hands. But then a curse is placed on her where she starts to grow rubies on her face, and THAT is real trouble. This book is so inventive and fun and I loved it to pieces! (CW for child abuse and neglect, attempted assault, and violence.)

Backlist bump: The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow Series Book 1) by Margaret Owen

young black man in ancient egyptian garb standing in front of statue of anubis

The Shadow Prince by David Anthony Durham

And this is a really fun middle grade novel set in an alternate Egyptian universe. Ash is a regular kid growing up in Egypt, except for the part where he has a mentor who is training him for a secret purpose. On the eve of his twelfth birthday, he finds out what that is—to compete to be the protector of the prince. The contest is deadly, five days of dangerous tests, each overseen by a different Egyptian god, and not everyone will survive. But does Ash, who has been preparing for this moment all his life, have what it takes to become the Shadow Prince?

Backlist bump: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

illustration of hand with blue nail polish holding a glass of amber liquid

Girly Drinks: A Women’s History of Drinking by Mallory O’Meara

And last, but not least, a fun feminist look at women and the vital roles they played in the history of alcohol throughout the world. From the ancient Sumerian beer goddess Ninkasi up to the 20th century, O’Meara has created a fascinating look into what is historically depicted as a man’s enterprise. This is perfect for people who love to learn about rarely discussed history! (Full disclosure that Mallory is a friend of mine, but I promise the book is awesome regardless.)

Backlist bump: The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of Oddball: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen, featuring illustraion of woman with big eyes and black hair wearing a yellow striped sweater on a hill of flowers

Oddball: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen (Andrews McMeel Publishing, November 30)

I would be remiss not to point out that the amazing Sarah Andersen has another hilarious collection coming out, just in time for holiday shopping! Her delightful comics about being an introvert, owning cats, reading books, and more, are one of my very favorite things about the internet, and this might be the best collection yet. Also, be sure to check out her new comic, Cryptid Club, and don’t miss her amazing vampire/werewolf romance graphic novel, Fangs!

Backlist bump: Adulthood Is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen

orange cat lying upside down on a green chair

This week: I’m currently reading Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez, translated by Christina MacSweeney and I’m still working on The Book of Death in the Agent Pendergast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been rewatching Succession in preparation for the new season, and the song stuck in my head is In Luv With U by Finn. And as promised, here is a cat picture! As usual, Zevon is his relaxed self.


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, star bits! Who is ready for some new books?!? This Tuesday’s awesome new releases include The Brides of Maracoor by Gregory Maguire, the start of a new trilogy set in the Wicked universe; State of Terror, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first thriller written with co-author Louise Penny; the inspirational memoir Toufah: The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement by Toufah Jallow and Kim Pittaway; and On Animals by Susan Orlean, her first since The Library Book.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Vanessa and I discussed This Thing Between Us, The Book of Magic, The Apollo Murders, and more.

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

Mango Mambo and Murder cover image, featuring an illustration of a table in a sunny room with two fancy red drinks, one of which has fallen over and smashed, and a kitten sitting on a desk behind it

Mango, Mambo, and Murder (A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery) by Raquel V. Reyes

Because we went hard on the really scary books on this week’s episode of All the Books!, I thought it would be nice to include something cozier. So here’s the first in a new cozy mystery series! And it’s about food shows, which is my favorite setting in books this year. (So! Many! Food! Show! Books!) Cuban-American Miriam Quinones-Smith becomes the star of a food show when she and her family move from NYC to Miami. But when a socialite dies right in front of Miriam at a luncheon, followed by another suspicious death soon after, her best friend Alma is implicated in the crimes. Miriam is determined to clear Alma’s name, but snooping around trying to find the real killer may be a—wait for it—recipe for disaster. (Related: someone please hire me to write pun titles for cozy mysteries.)

Backlist bump: Death by Dumpling: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien

cover of The Best American Short Stories 2021 by Jesmyn Ward and Heidi Pitlor, featuring aerial view of several hardcover books standing on end

The Best American Short Stories 2021 (The Best American Series ®) edited by Jesmyn Ward and Heidi Pitlor

Vanessa covered the The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021 edition on the show this week, and I would be remiss not to shout out this edition here. Because the line-up of contributors is FIRE. There’s stories from C Pam Zhang, Brandon Hobson, Gabriel Bump, Kevin Wilson, Bryan Washington (related: have you seen the paperback cover of Memorial? UH-MAY-ZING), George Saunders, and more. Not to mention this year’s guest editor, the astounding Jesmyn Ward. I would put this on your gift list right now and get one for yourself, too!

Backlist bump: Everyday People: The Color of Life–a Short Story Anthology edited by Jennifer Baker

cover of Library by Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber, featuring several small squares of different colors with a hand-painted book in each one

Library by Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber

And here’s another fabulous book that will make a great gift. The description of this book calls Dumontier and Farber “two of Canada’s most influential contemporary artists.” I am sorry to admit I am not familiar with them, but I did love this book, so I will be sure to watch out for more from them! This is a collection of painted illustrations of books with hand-lettered covers featuring silly and sweet titles. Titles include “I Carved Your Name In a Tree Because I Love You, and I Hate Trees,” “I Wish I Had More Middle Fingers,” “Now Would Be a Good Time for a Joke,” and “Basic Human Confusion.” It’s a charming little art book that is sure to delight readers.

Backlist bump: Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James, featuring a car with its driverside door open in the rainy dark, with a big mansion in the background

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James (Berkley, March 15, 2022)

Are you ready to be scared? Well, sorry, you have to wait until March, my bad, I didn’t mean to tease you. But if your answer was ‘yes’ then mark this book down on your TBR now!

In the small town of Claire Lake, Oregon, Shea Collins is a receptionist at a doctor’s office and she also runs a website about cold cases. When Beth Greer, the acquitted suspect in the town’s forty-year-old unsolved Lady Killer case, crosses her path, Shea takes a chance and asks for an interview. And to her surprise, Beth says yes.

But Shea wonders, after decades of isolation in her family’s mansion, why did Beth decide to talk now? As Shea digs deep into the Lady Killer case, interviewing key players and researching old files, she learns some startling things. Readers are treated to alternating chapters set in the past, during the events of the case, where we learn about Beth and her arrest. And on top of that, we know that Shea also has a secret of her own she is hiding from everyone—she was abducted when she was nine, but managed to escape (it’s not a spoiler, it’s in the book’s description). Is her desperate need to get to the bottom of cold cases a way for her to avoid dealing with her own past? And is spending all her free time immersed in crime cases really helping her?

I loved this book! First off, it’s HELLA scary. I was not expecting that, but yep, I found myself reading it in the middle of the night with all the lights on. I thought the mysteries were fun, and I always love books that include plot lines involving technology and cold cases. This one will ring all your thriller bells!

(CW for child kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder, chemical use and abuse, car accidents, murder, police brutality, infidelity, mental illness, child endangerment, terror.)

an orange cat hanging its head over the side of a gray bookcase covered in stickers, with stickers all over the walls in the background

This week: I’m currently reading The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera and I’m still working on Dance of Death in the Agent Pendergast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been watching the new season of Bob’s Burgers and The Simpsons (meh) and the song stuck in my head is Ana Ng by They Might Be Giants. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Farrokh sleeps like this all the time. I don’t know how that can be comfortable—all the blood would rush to my head!


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

New Books for the First Tuesday of October!

Happy new release day to all who celebrate! Today was a bit of a weird first Tuesday, because I originally had a list of almost 150 titles. But because of all the shipping issues, so many books have had their release dates changed. So by the time I finished going through the list, I was left with half as many titles still coming out today. These date changes are no joke! But there are still a lot of great books out today (just not nearly as many that I have read now that I moved a bunch.)

Below, you’ll find titles (loosely) broken up into several categories, to make it easier for your browsing convenience. I hope you have fun with it! And as with each first Tuesday newsletter, I am putting a ❤️ next to the books that I have had the chance to read and loved.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Danika and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as Payback’s a Witch, Reprieve, Cackle, and more. Lots of great Halloween-y books for the season!

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

Biography and Memoir

cover of Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist by Sesali Bowen, featuring a tattooed black hand with pink nails holding cash

Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist by Sesali Bowen

Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef

The One You Want to Marry (And Other Identities I’ve Had): A Memoir by Sophie Santos

Greedy: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much by Jen Winston 

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl

Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America by Keisha N. Blain 

Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl ❤️

A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) by David Sedaris 

But You Seemed So Happy: A Marriage, in Pieces and Bits by Kimberly Harrington

A Tale of Two Omars: A Memoir of Family, Revolution, and Coming Out During the Arab Spring by Omar Sharif

Fiction

cover of Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo

Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo ❤️

Thieves, Beasts & Men by Shan Leah

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza 

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley 

A Time Outside This Time by Amitava Kumar

I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins ❤️

The Throwback List by Lily Anderson

This Is How I Disappear by Mirion Malle

Fight Night by Miriam Toews ❤️

My Famous Brain by Diane Wald 

cover of The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, featuring an old steam train in the distance

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles 

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

What Storm, What Thunder by Miryam A.J. Chanc

The Swank Hotel by Lucy Corin

Deadheading and Other Stories by Beth Gilstrap

Middle Grade

Children of the Fox (Thieves of Shadow Book 1) by Kevin Sands 

Fireborn by Aisling Fowler

Pencilvania by Stephanie Watson and Sofia Moore

Mystery and Thriller

cover of The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke, featuring a pentagram and a spiral staircase

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke 

1979 by Val McDermid

The Survivors by Alex Schulman

Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger

April in Spain by John Banville 

An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten, Marlaine Delargy (translator)

The Neighbor’s Secret by L. Alison Heller ❤️

The Savage Kind: A Mystery by John Copenhaver 

The House of Dust by Noah Broyles

In the Crypt with a Candlestick: A Mystery by Daisy Waugh

The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

Nonfiction

Such Color: New and Selected Poems by Tracy K. Smith , featuring a young Black boy reclining in the grass

Such Color: New and Selected Poems by Tracy K. Smith 

Truffle Hound: On the Trail of the World’s Most Seductive Scent, with Dreamers, Schemers, and Some Extraordinary Dogs by Rowan Jacobsen

Credible: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers by Deborah Tuerkheimer 

Say Their Names: How Black Lives Came to Matter in America by Curtis Bunn, Michael H. Cottman, Patrice Gaines, Nick Charles, Keith Harriston 

Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing Up with the AIDS Crisis edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott

Romance

cover of The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox, featuring cartoon of twin sissters under a christmas wreath

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox ❤️

Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper

A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli

Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond

Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Horror

Reprieve by James Han Mattson ❤️

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling ❤️

Cackle by Rachel Harrison ❤️

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow ❤️

Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi ❤️

The Original Glitch by Melanie Moyer

Search History by Eugene Lim

Young Adult

cover of Little Thieves by Margaret Owen, featuring outline of girl in red in front of outlines of figures in gray

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen ❤️

Briarheart by Mercedes Lackey

The Falling Girls by Hayley Krischer

The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros ❤️

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson ❤️

Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by Brandy Colbert

Crossbones by Kimberly Vale

I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas by Tiffany Schmidt 

Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones, Gilly Segal

cover of Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle, featuring cartoon of four young people standing in front of a full moon

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle ❤️

The Storm of Echoes: Book Four of the Mirror Visitor Quartet (The Mirror Visitor Quartet, 4) by Christelle Dabos and Hildegarde Serle (translator)

Everything Within and in Between by Nikki Barthelmess

When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles 


orange cat sleeping upside down on a lime green chair

This week: I’m currently reading Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez and I’ve moved on to Dance of Death in the Agent Pendergast series from Preston and Child. (I realized I keep calling him Pendergrast, I don’t know why.) Outside of books, I’m finishing up the latest season of The Great Pottery Throw Down, and the song stuck in my head is You Didn’t Know Me When by Harry Connick, Jr. And as promised, here is a cat picture! It’s just terrible that Zevon can never feel relaxed, don’t you think? 😉


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy new release day, my little book gourds! I am very excited about all of the incredible books out today. This Tuesday’s awesome new releases include A Calling for Charlie Barnes by Joshua Ferris, Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence by Anita Hill, and The Best American Poetry 2021 edited by Tracy K. Smith and David Lehman. I am wildly curious to get my hands on Unrequited Infatuations: A Memoir by Stevie Van Zandt—give me all that E Street Band and Sopranos hot goss! (Did you know his show Lilyhammer was Netflix’s first original content series???) I’m also excited to pick up a copy of It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherf**kers by Colin Nissan, because yes, yes it is. 🎃

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as Cloud Cuckoo Land, Light from Uncommon Stars, The Matzah Ball, and more.

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

Cover of Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo, featuring a human hand underwater wrapped in weeds reaching for a skeleton hand wrapped in weeds

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo

It’s always time for scary books, but it’s especially time right now, with Halloween only four-ish weeks away. This is a fantastic queer Southern Gothic about young man who travels to Nashville to find out why his best friend and soon-to-be roommate, Eddie, died by suicide. Andrew was supposed to join Eddie, but now he’s in a house with roommates he doesn’t know in an unfamiliar town. And worse, there are some scary secrets coming to light, and possibly something horrible haunting the house. Is Andrew now forever haunted? This one is going to slowly creep you out. (CW for racism and homophobia, trauma, grief, and suicide.)

Backlist bump: Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due

cover of Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray, featuring a hissing snake wrapped in ferns wrapped around the title

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

I don’t know about you, but I cannot get enough of the YA fantasy novels of the last few years. They are out of this world! This is another excellent one to add to the list. It’s about the Night Zoo, a place populated by magical creatures. Sixteen-year-old Koffi works at the Zoo as an indentured servant to pay her family’s debts, but when her family is threatened by the Zoo’s horrid boss, she accidentally conjures a power she didn’t know she had. Koffi is destined to cross paths with a young warrior, Ekon, and the two of them must team up to make sure their futures are safe. But their paths are fraught with danger and—wait for it—beasts of prey. (CW for kidnapping, enslavement, violence and gore, death, chemical use, mental illness, physical and verbal abuse, sexism, and murder.)

Backlist bump: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

cover of The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall, featuring an illustration of a young woman with a shaved head, wearing a purple robe and carrying a red book, and petting a goat

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall 

Okay, I know this is going to sound bananas, but this was my first Kate DiCamillo! I am familiar with all her backlist, but somehow have never read any of them. So I have to say, this is a great place to start because it’s a wonderful book! It’s about a young girl who mysteriously appears at the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing monastery. It turns out her name is Beatryce, and she holds many stories within her, and is sought by the King, because of a prophecy. Beatryce knows that her existence at the monastery puts everyone in danger, so she must figure out how to stop the King. It has amazing stories-within-stories, lots of action and adventure, and one great goat named Answelica. And it includes lovely illustrations by Sophie Blackall.

Backlist bump: The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz and Hatem Aly

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of Memphis by Tara Stringfellow, featuring illustrations of four Black women sitting amongst grass and flowers

Memphis by Tara Stringfellow (The Dial Press, March 1, 2022)

THIS NOVEL. It will destroy you, so get ready for that. This is one of the best debut novels I have read in a long, long time, but please be ready, because it is filled with hard, heartbreaking subject matter.

The focus of the novel is three generations of Black women in a Southern family. Told over seventy years, it’s about these strong women, with Joan at the center of the narration. A young girl when her mother flees Joan’s abusive father with her younger sister, they wind up back at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis, living with her aunt and cousin. Each of them has a trauma they are dealing with, and they learn to trust and depend on each other and the other women in their neighborhood to help them heal, including a neighbor with a gift for curses.

Told back in forth in time, we also learn about Joan’s ancestors and their hopes and hardships. It’s set against the backdrop of history from the segregated South, to the assassination of Martin Luther King, to 9/11. It is an astounding gut-punch of a book, and all of the characters are so real and the story unfolds perfectly. They have hopes and dreams in the face of impossibilities, and make mistakes and try again, and you can’t help but cheer them on. I am not doing this novel justice, so you’re just going to have to trust me that it is amazing.

(CW for mentions of racism and racialized violence and murder, partner abuse, sexual assault of a child and an adult, war violence, terrorist violence, illness, death, loss of a parent, loss of a spouse, and police violence.)

orange cat sitting on a blue blanket like a human. photo by Liberty Hardy

This week: I’m currently reading Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp and I’ve moved on to Brimstone in the Agent Pendergrast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been watching the new season of Nailed It!, and the song stuck in my head is Frying Pan by Evan Dando. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Zevon cannot seem to relax like a cat. He thinks he’s a person. ❤️


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Welcome back, book fans! It’s another amazing day in the Land of New Releases. Today’s awesome new releases include The Bronzed Beasts, the final book in Roshani Chokshi’s Gilded Wolves trilogy; Room to Dream, a new Front Desk novel by Kelly Yang; and Bewilderment by Richard Powers, which is on both the recently announced Booker Prize shortlist and the National Book Award longlist. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine. And a big shout-out to Rioter Karina Yan Glaser, whose fifth Vanderbeeker book, The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish, is also out today!

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Tirzah and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as All These Bodies, The Body Scout, The Book of Form and Emptiness, and more.

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

cover of Pump: A Natural History of the Heart by Bill Schutt, featuring an illustration of a human heart and the word 'pump' over and over

Pump: A Natural History of the Heart by Bill Schutt

Humans have been around for a lonnnnnnnng time, but we’re only been making major medical progress for a fraction of that. One of the major parts of the body we continue to tinker with is the heart. Schutt is a natural when it comes to writing about science and history, and this is another fascinating book about a part that everyone has, and everyone needs, but few of us understand. I was so pumped to read it. (Sorry, not sorry.)

Backlist bump: Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt (Related: did you see my cannibalism piece?)

cover of the insiders by mark oshiro, a yellow cover with three cartoon children running through open doors

The Insiders by Mark Oshiro

And here’s a new addition for the fantastic middle grade category! For Héctor Muñoz, being gay at his school in San Francisco didn’t mean he was made to feel different. But at his new school in Orangevale, he is being bullied, and feels alone and helpless. Then one day, while trying to hide, he discovers a room at the back of the janitor’s closet. The room is magic, and brings him to other kids in other parts of the country who also don’t feel like they fit in. Time never moves inside the room, so they can hang out as much as they want, and the kids help each other come up with solutions to their problems. It’s an excellent story about friendship and fitting in. (CW for bullying, racism, gaslighting, and homophobia.)

Backlist bump: Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

cover of The Tensorate Series by Neon Yang, featuring a dragon and fire surrounded by Chinese symbols

The Tensorate Series by Neon Yang

And I love these fantasy novellas so much, I needed to shout them out again, now that they’re available in one super edition! They have been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, and Lambda Literary Awards. There are sibling heirs to an empire raised by monks, flying monsters, battles, scary monsters, and more. Staged in unique settings, the novellas in this collection are wildly imaginative and beautifully realized. The first two reminded me a bit of the land of Monstress, which I also highly recommend. (CW for physical violence and abuse, illness, war, animal death, death of a loved one, and death of a child.)

Backlist bump: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett, blue with cartoon foxes and white dogs all over it

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett Ballantine Books, April 12, 2022)

Have you been dying to read a new John Irving novel? Have you been looking for something like Nothing Here to See Here by Kevin Wilson? Then get ready, because this fantastic novel is the perfect book for you!

The main character is Emma, a young woman born in a small New Hampshire town with the ability to heal people with a touch of her hands. However, her parents don’t want her to become a sideshow act, so they forbid her from using it. But they still want her to heal people in other ways, so they encourage her to go to school to become a doctor, even though Emma herself isn’t sure that’s what she wants.

At the start of the novel, Emma gets a call that her father, Clive, is dying from a brain disease. The doctors aren’t sure what it is, but he’s been losing his memory, he hallucinates animals, and he talks to the ghost of a New Hampshire naturalist who died a century earlier. Emma thinks her mother asked her to come home so she can heal Clive with her hands, but it has been so long since she tried to use her gift, she’s not even sure if it will still work. But between looking after Clive, who is getting harder to manage, and Emma’s younger brother, who is home from his most recent rehab stay, her mother could use the help.

But this is just a tiny fraction of the plot of Unlikely Animals. There’s also a storyline about Emma’s missing childhood friend (who the police have written off because of her drug use), a private plot of land used for hunting by millionaires, an expensive fox, a classroom of earnest middle grade students, an amateur theater production, and much more. Plus, the narrators of the novel stole my heart. But they’re not mentioned in the book’s description, so I won’t spoil them for you.

This book is sweet and sad, but also so, so funny. I desperately want to see these characters brought to life on a screen in some capacity. Or even have a sequel, if such a thing could happen. 10/10, would read again!

(CW for mentions of chemical use and abuse, animal death, illness and death of a loved one, violence and bodily harm, mental illness, and infidelity.)

two orange cats, one sitting in a silver bowl in front of a red microwave, the other on the table in front. photo by Liberty Hardy

This week: I’m currently reading Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto and I’ve moved on to The Cabinet of Curiosities in the Agent Pendergrast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been giving my brain a break from television, and the song stuck in my head is I Love It Loud by Kiss. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Farrokh and Zevon, chilling in the kitchen. ❤️


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, star bits! Thank you to all you nice people who have reached out about the updates and changes to New Books. I am very excited about them, too! And speaking of exciting, today’s new releases include the new Colson Whitehead novel Harlem Shuffle (mentioned on the podcast), a new book from Mary Roach (see below), and Gabrielle Union’s new memoir-in-stories You Got Anything Stronger?

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Vanessa and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as Harlem Shuffle, The Corpse Queen, White Smoke, and more.

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

cover image of Fuzz- When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach showing an iron on patch with a bear, a cougar, and an elephant

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach

It has been a while since we’ve heard from Mary Roach, but she is back with her wry writing and humorous observations. This time, she investigates the consequences that befall animals and nature that behaves badly. She travels around the world and interviews several experts in human-animal conflict. What happens to the animals who attack? Who polices them? And are animals really the problem, or are humans at fault most of the time? (Spoiler: It’s the humans.) This book is fascinating and I enjoyed reading Roach’s writing as always, but there are two things I do want to mention. 1) The UK title of this book is Animal, Vegetable, Criminal, which is a much more awesome title and 2) a heads-up that although some of the nature mishaps are humorous, there are serious and sometimes fatal consequences for a lot of the creatures in this book, and as someone who is sensitive to animal death, it was hard to read about.

Backlist bump: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

cover of Assembly by Natasha Brown, featuring several straight lines and one that looks as though it is burnt

Assembly by Natasha Brown

This slim, powerful debut is narrated by an unnamed Black woman, facing a health crisis, who is getting ready to attend a lavish garden party at her white boyfriend’s family estate in the English countryside. But this might just be the day she takes a stand against the barrage of tokenism, misogyny, micro-aggressions, sexism, and racism she has had to deal with on a daily basis, in her work at an investment firm, out in public, and in her personal life. She will decide what is worth keeping and how to put her own needs first in this sharp, explosive punch of a novella.

Backlist bump: Luster by Raven Leilani

cover of Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson and Jay Cooper, featuring oen and ink illustration of a quaint village, with a pair of shoes sticking out from behind a building

Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson and Jay Cooper

So yes, Vanessa talked about this one on the podcast, but I wanted to also mention it here. Because I cannot stress enough how you should get this now if you want it for yourself or to give as a gift, because it’s going to be impossible to find around the holidays. It’s a delightfully macabre little book, taking all the tropes of quaint English villages in cozy murder mysteries, and explaining them like a guide book. You’ll learn all the places, people, and objects to avoid if you want to keep from getting murdered. (Spoiler: it’s all of them.) And Cooper deftly illustrates NYT bestselling author Johnson’s hilarious text.

Backlist bump: The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer, featuring cartoon illustrations of a woman in a blue dress, a man in a tux, and several Hanukkah-themed designs

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer (MIRA, September 28)

I talked about this one several months ago in the Book Radar, but I thought it was worth revisiting since we’re only two weeks away from the pub date and I just heart it so freaking hard.

This delightful romantic comedy of errors is about a Jewish woman who is a successful author—not that anyone else knows that besides her agent and her publisher. See, Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt really, really loves Christmas. Like, has a whole room in her house dedicated to Christmas decorations year-round. But she’s also the daughter of one of New York’s most respected rabbis, and she doesn’t think her parents would be happy to know their daughter writes bestselling Christmas romance novels, so they are published under a pseudonym.

Rachel’s secret life as an author has been treating her really well for years now. She makes enough money to have a fabulous Manhattan apartment, and she is able to work from home, which is helpful, because Rachel has a chronic illness that often makes it hard for her to go out. (She has myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome as it is commonly known, as does the author Meltzer, who offers more information about it in the afterword.) But then Rachel’s publisher blindsides her: they don’t want anymore Christmas romances—they want her to write a Hanukkah romance novel instead.

Rachel is distressed—what is romantic and magical about Hanukkah, she cries? But then she learns about The Matzah Ball, a swanky charity event held on the last night of Hanukkah. Maybe that’s where she’ll get her inspiration! But there’s a catch (there’s always a catch). Jacob Greenberg, who broke Rachel’s heart at summer camp many years ago, is the brains behind The Matzah Ball.

But Rachel really needs inspiration if she’s going to continue writing books for her publisher, so she swallows her pride and asks Jacob for a ticket. Unfortunately, there’s a problem: the event is sold out. But he tells her she can attend if she first agrees to volunteer to help set up the event. So she does, and as she spends more time with Jacob, old feelings return. But so do misunderstandings and hijinks (that will make you actually LOL.) Is Rachel’s humiliation and heartbreak worth the material for a book? Or will Rachel end up with a real-life holiday romance?

As I said, this book is so delightful! Rachel is awesome. She’s smart, funny, and takes no guff. I liked that the conflict between Rachel and Jacob when they were young felt real, not just an excuse to break them apart. I think it’s hard sometimes with HEAs to come up with a good reason to split characters up. It’s also a really, really funny book! If you love charming romance novels, or just like fun, this is a wonderful book for readers year-round.

(CW for mentions of chronic illness, cancer, and loss of a parent.)

orange cat sleeping on a fuzzy fluorescent pink chair, photo by Liberty Hardy

This week: I’m currently reading The League of Gentlewomen Witches by India Holton and All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir, and I’ve moved on to Reliquary in the Agent Pendergrast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been giving my brain a break from television, and the song stuck in my head is American Music by Violent Femmes. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Zevon is 30% feet, at least.


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️