New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Hello, Tuesday friends, it’s time to get excited about new books! Can you believe February is practically over already. THAT was fast. 2021 has been flat-out amazing when it comes to new book releases. Two of my favorites of the year have already been released—The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard and We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen—and next week another of my favorites is out—In the Quick by Kate Hope Day. You’re going to love them! Also, I’ve been pretty active on Twitter lately and I’m always around on Instagram, and I love to hear from people who have loved a book I’ve recommended. 😍

I’m looking forward to a lot of today’s new releases and I hope that very soon I’ll be able to get my hands on Escaping Exodus: Symbiosis by Nicky Drayden, Love Is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann, and Nubia: Real One by L. L. McKinney and Robyn Smith.

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 The City of Good Death, Raceless, The Blizzard Party, and more. (Also, last week I didn’t notice the typo in Tirzah’s name—sorry, Tirzah! Related: Check out her upcoming book, Pride and Premeditation.)

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

The Upstairs House by Julia Fine

Megan, a writer working on a book about children’s literature, has been anticipating the birth of her first child. But from the very beginning, it is not quite what she was expecting. She is sore and tired all the time, and worried that she doesn’t feel an attachment with her new daughter.

This worry only grows when Megan comes home from the hospital and her husband leaves almost immediately for a business trip. But help arrives in the form of a kind upstairs neighbor, who offers to help out with the baby. But the weird thing is that the neighbor is living in a part of the house that didn’t used to exist and the neighbor herself is children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown—who has been dead for quite some time. (Yes, the Margaret Wise Brown, author of many books including Goodnight Moon.)

But tired and despondent as she is, Megan is grateful for the assistance, until it turns out that Margaret has unfinished business and Megan and the baby are pulled further and further into her plans. As events turn more chaotic and dangerous, Megan must decide how to free herself and her baby from the situation.

This is a great, intense story of the unrealistic expectations women are fed around giving birth and having children, and the need for further understanding and compassion around postpartum depression. (Also, this is a bit ghoulish, but did you know Margaret Wise Brown died from complications from doing a high kick while she was still recovering from surgery? I learned that in high school and it still haunts me.)

Backlist bump: The Need by Helen Phillips

Smoke by Joe Ide

This is the fifth book in the IQ series now, which seems impossible. I wanted to point it out because it’s a great series (which is being made into a television series by Snoop Dogg!)

The main character is Isaiah Quintabe, also known as IQ, a resident of one of LA’s toughest neighborhoods who uses his Sherlock Holmes-like abilities of observation and deduction to help solve cases that are written off or ignored by the police. His past cases include the death threats against a rap mogul, dangerous loan sharks and stalkers, a missing mother, and arms dealers.

In his fifth book, IQ will have to decide if he wants to break cover to help a man on the hunt for the state’s most prolific serial killer, while his partner, Dodson, has some difficult decisions to make. Some series you can read out of order, but I highly recommend starting at the beginning with this one, because a lot of plot hinges on past events. But don’t worry, it’s worth it. IQ is the great contemporary Sherlock the 21st century needs.

Backlist bump: IQ by Joe Ide

The Lost Soul by Olga Tokarczuk, Joanna Concejo (Illustrator), Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translator)

This is a beautiful, contemplative story by Nobel Pirize winner Tokarczuk, author of Flights and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, with unbelievably outstanding illustrations by Concejo.

The story is about a man who is sad and unhappy and so he goes to the doctor, who tells him he has lost his soul. The doctor explains the nature of souls and tells the man he needs to slow his life down. The story is set in the middle of the book, with the illustrations leading up to the story in black-and-white, and the images after the story bursting with color. It’s a gorgeous book about taking time to appreciate what you have and what is around you. Remember this one when it’s time to give a graduation gift!

Backlist bump: The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

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. – XO, Liberty

New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, readers! I hope you had a great weekend. You are never going to believe this but I spent my weekend—get ready—reading books. Haha, JK, that’s a regular weekend for me. Bonus: I read something I really enjoyed that I can share with you today! I’m excited about a lot of today’s new releases and I hope that very soon I’ll be able to get my hands on Jaguars’ Tomb by Angélica Gorodischer, the reissue of No More Lies by Dick Gregory, and The Mission House by Carys Davies.

Speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Torzah and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as The Memory Theater, First Comes Like, The Echo Wife, and more.

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

Soulstar (The Kingston Cycle Book 3) by C. L. Polk 

This is the third book in a series, but because I love this series so much, I wanted to make sure that I either 1) let you know the third one was coming out or 2) introduced you to this excellent series! It’s set in an alternate Edwardian England, where magic is real and witches exist.

In the first book, we meet Miles Singer, a magic-marked human who has been hiding out as a doctor in a veteran’s hospital after the war. Er, for reasons. He has been successful in keeping his identity—and his abilities— a secret until a dying patient is brought in and reveals Miles’s identity. Now Miles must figure out who the patient was and how he knew the truth. Luckily, a handsome stranger is willing to give Miles help with his investigation.

The next books revolve around related characters from the first book, and all are excellent. If you love an alternative history fantasy series, I cannot recommend this one enough!

Backlist bump: Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle, 1) by C. L. Polk

The Witch of Eye by Kathryn Nuernberger

And speaking of witches: this is a fascinating, brutal collection of essays about the terrors visited upon the (almost entirely) women who have been accused of witchcraft over the centuries. Nuernberger divides each chapter into the story of a specific victim from history and examines the hypocrisies, horrors, and ignorance that led to each of their demise, along with stories of women in her own life and her observations of the world. Make no mistake, it is hard to read sometimes, but Nuernberger has done an engrossing job discussing their deaths as tied to the beauty and terror of nature. This book will not be for everyone, but I am glad I read it.

(CW for graphic descriptions of the torture and death of people accused of witchcraft.)

Backlist bump: Witches of America by Alex Mar

How to Order the Universe by María José Ferrada, Elizabeth Bryer (translator)

And this is the book I mentioned on All the Books as wanting to read. I took the time over the weekend to fit it in, and I thought it was great!

It’s a Paper Moon-esque story set in Pinochet-era Chile, and follows seven-year-old M. She is extremely intelligent and precocious and is fascinated by her father’s work. D is a traveling salesman who sells tools, and M convinces him to write her excuse notes for school and instead take her with him on his sales calls. This works to D’s advantage, because people are less likely to say no or yell at him in front of a little kid. M also uses this to her advantage to extort toys from her dad.

Their arrangement works so well that he even lends her out to another salesman to help with his visits, and M is raking in the loot. But everything changes when their friendship with a photographer named E leads to tragedy. It’s a really bittersweet story of a girl’s love for her dad and the things in life that even the most intelligent children don’t understand when they are young.

(CW for violence and death, homophobic language and racist remarks, and children smoking cigarettes.)

Backlist bump: Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

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. – XO, Liberty

New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

It’s Tuuuuuuuuuesday! That means there are oodles of great new books being released out into the world today. I am most eager to get my hands on The Velocity of Revolution by Marshall Ryan Maresca, A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein, and Nuestra América by Claudio Lomnitz. Especially since I have nothing to read. 😉

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 The Gilded Ones, Kink, The Witch’s Heart, and more.

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

In the Shadow of the Moon: America, Russia, and the Hidden History of the Space Race by Amy Cherrix

My goal this year (and every year, it seems) is to read more nonfiction. I have not been very successful, but I did get to read this story of the United States and Russia and their race to the moon. I learned a lot about the men behind the first rockets into space that we didn’t learn in school—like how one of the engineers was a former Nazi officer—and their bitter rivalry. Outer space itself in general kind of weirds me out if I think about it for too long, but reading about the science and politics and dirty secrets surrounding mankind trying to visit it was just my speed.

Backlist bump: Hidden Figures: Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

This is a cute debut young adult novel about two Vietnamese-American teens whose families own competing restaurants. Bao Nguyen and Linh Mai both work hard for their parents, even if their parents won’t admit it. The two have always steered clear of one another, but after an accidental meeting, they are beginning to wonder what caused the rift between their families. And there’s something else—they’re totally into one another. How will their parents react to their children being involved with someone from a competing pho restaurant, when they aren’t generous with their affection and understanding on a regular day? (Fun fact: Loan Le also works in publishing and is the editor of Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan, one of my favorite novels of the year.)

Backlist bump: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dreyer’s English (Adapted for Young Readers): Good Advice for Good Writing by Benjamin Dreyer

I just realized all my picks today are young adult books, but I can’t help it because these are the ones I liked best! I loved the adult edition of Dreyer’s English and I think it’s genius to have one for budding writers. It makes so much sense to help young writers as they’re starting out, and Dreyer is the King of Grammar, so he’s the perfect person to teach them! He’s also hella witty and funny. I am all for more Dreyer’s English everything: Dreyer’s English bath bombs, Dreyer’s English air fresheners, Dreyer’s English pet shampoo, Dreyer’s English breakfast cereal—bring it on.

Backlist bump: STET! Dreyer’s English: A Game for Language Lovers, Grammar Geeks, and Bibliophiles by Benjamin Dreyer

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. – XO, Liberty

New Books

First Tuesday of February Megalist!

Holy cats, are you even ready to handle the sheer number of amazing books coming our way today?!? You might want to put on a helmet and safety googles just to read this email! As with each first Tuesday megalist, I am putting a ❤️ next to the books that I have had the chance to read and loved. (Thank you, December break!) I did get to a few of today’s books, but there are still soooo many more on this list that I can’t wait to read, like U UP? by Catie Disabato, Love Is an Ex-Country by Randa Jarrar, and Surviving the White Gaze: A Memoir by Rebecca Carroll.

You can also hear about several new releases on this week’s episode of the All the Books! Danika and I discussed Two Truths and a Lie, A Taste of Love, Winter’s Orbit, and more. Okay—everyone buckled in? Here come the books! – XO, Liberty

Two Truths and a Lie: A Murder, a Private Investigator, and Her Search for Justice by Ellen McGarrahan ❤️

Milk Fed by Melissa Broder 

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell ❤️

Love Is an Ex-Country by Randa Jarrar

The Project by Courtney Summers ❤️

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan ❤️

A Taste For Love by Jennifer Yen

The Other Mothers: Two Women’s Journey to Find the Family That Was Always Theirs by Jennifer Berney

Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age by Annalee Newitz

Hadley and Grace by Suzanne Redfearn 

I am The Rage by Martina McGowan and Diana Ejaita

Milk Blood Heat: Stories by Dantiel W. Moniz ❤️

Candy Hearts by Tommy Siegel

The Low Desert: Gangster Stories by Tod Goldberg ❤️

U UP? by Catie Disabato

Strange Bedfellows: Adventures in the Science, History, and Surprising Secrets of STDs by Ina Park 

Run for Cover (Michael Gannon Series) by Michael Ledwidge 

Girls with Bright Futures: A Novel by Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman ❤️

The Best of R. A. Lafferty by R.A. Lafferty 

Soul City: Race, Equality, and the Lost Dream of an American Utopia by Thomas Healy

A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke

Live; live; live by Jonathan Buckley

Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson

Rise of the Red Hand (The Mechanists) by Olivia Chadha ❤️

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Untraceable by Sergei Lebedev and Antonina W. Bouis

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan

Animal, Vegetable, Junk by Mark Bittman 

Love in English by Maria E. Andreu

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson ❤️

Wild Swims: Stories by Dorthe Nors, Misha Hoekstra (translator)

Prosopagnosia by Sònia Hernández, Samuel Rutter (translator)

The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood

Black Magic: What Black Leaders Learned from Trauma and Triumph by Chad Sanders

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo 

Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy by Rachel Ricketts

What Is Life?: Five Great Ideas in Biology by Paul Nurse

Muted by Tami Charles

Resetting the Table: Straight Talk About the Food We Grow and Eat by Robert Paarlberg.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Young Readers Edition) by Jeanne Theoharis, Brandy Colbert 

This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey

100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell ❤️

Heartwarming: How Our Inner Thermostat Made Us Human by Hans Rocha Ijzerman

Truly Like Lightning by David Duchovny  

The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant

The Afterlife of the Party by Marlene Perez

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones ❤️

Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson

girl stuff. by Lisi Harrison

Loud Black Girls: 20 Black Women Writers Ask: What’s Next? by Yomi Adegoke, Elizabeth Uviebinené

Everything That Burns: An Enchantée Novel by Gita Trelease

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs ❤️

Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob by Russell Shorto

An Anatomy of Pain: How the Body and the Mind Experience and Endure Physical Suffering by Abdul-Ghaaliq Lalkhen

The Last Tiara by M.J. Rose 

Girl A by Abigail Dean

Beneath the Keep: A Novel of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler ❤️

This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner 

Send for Me by Lauren Fox

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus

Mortal Remains by Mary Ann Fraser

The Women’s History of the Modern World: How Radicals, Rebels, and Everywomen Revolutionized the Last 200 Years by Rosalind Miles

What Doesn’t Kill You: A Life with Chronic Illness – Lessons from a Body in Revolt by Tessa Miller

Surviving the White Gaze: A Memoir by Rebecca Carroll

The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics by Tim Harford

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson

Poetics of Work by Noémi Lefebvre, Sophie Lewis (translator)

Floating in a Most Peculiar Way: A Memoir by Louis Chude-Sokei

My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee ❤️

Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life by Ruth Padel 

The Year I Flew Away by Marie Arnold

What Is Life?: Five Great Ideas in Biology by Paul Nurse

Halfway Home : Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration by Reuben Jonathan Miller

Muse by Brittany Cavallaro

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant 

Annie and the Wolves by Andromeda Romano-Lax

The Mercenary by Paul Vidich

Flood City by Daniel José Older ❤️

Lone Stars by Justin Deabler

The Survivors by Jane Harper

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith ❤️

City of a Thousand Gates by Rebecca Sacks

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano 

Landslide by Susan Conley ❤️

The Obsession by Jesse Q Sutanto

Blood Grove by Walter Mosley

A History of What Comes Next: A Take Them to the Stars Novel by Sylvain Neuvel ❤️

Speculative Los Angeles edited by Denise Hamilton

Killer Content by Olivia Blacke

The Spirit of Music: The Lesson Continues by Victor L. Wooten 

Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon 

God I Feel Modern Tonight: Poems from a Gal About Town by Catherine Cohen

Pink: Poems by Sylvie Baumgartel 

Like Streams to the Ocean: Notes on Ego, Love, and the Things That Make Us Who We Are by Jedidiah Jenkins 

Land of Big Numbers: Stories by Te-Ping Chen ❤️

Leave Out the Tragic Parts: A Grandfather’s Search for a Boy Lost to Addiction by Dave Kindred 

The Removed: A Novel by Brandon Hobson

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain ❤️

A View from Abroad: The Story of John and Abigail Adams in Europe by Jeanne E. Abrams

Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America’s Cheap Goods by Amelia Pang ❤️

Bad Habits by Amy Gentry

The Unwilling by John Hart 

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado ❤️

All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace

We Can Only Save Ourselves by Alison Wisdom ❤️ (Heads up that there is a horrific dog death on the page. I cried the whole rest of the night. 😭)

The Package by Sebastian Fitzek, Jamie Bulloch (Translator)

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New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, star bits! There are so many great books out today, your head will spin with excitement. This includes a number of great sequels, like A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer, Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez, The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon, and Every Waking Hour by Joanna Schaffhausen, all of which I am eager to get my hands on! And for you Joan Didion fans, her new collection of essays Let Me Tell You What I Mean is also out today.

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 My Brilliant Life, The Girls I’ve Been, The Swallowed Man, and more.

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

A Thousand Ships: A Novel by Natalie Haynes

I often feel like everyone seems to know the stories of all the Greek gods and goddesses except for me. As if the day this information was taught, I must have been home sick from school. So I often have to have it pointed out to me when a book is a retelling of Ovid’s Metamorphoses or a contemporary Iphis and Ianthe story.

That said, I so love reading books with Greek gods and goddesses, and while I wish I knew a bit more about the source material, it didn’t stop me from loving this award-nominated novel about the women from the Trojan War, including the three goddesses who started the war, the Trojan citizens, Penelope, and the Amazon princess who fought Achilles. And it’s told from the perspective of Calliope, the goddess of poetry. (Which is a fact I know because I looked it up. Seriously, how does everyone else already know this stuff?)

Even without knowing the source material, I found this a compelling and intense book. There was a lot to take in, and a lot of voices are heard from—not all of them without faults—but I found it utterly fascinating.

(Content warning for mentions of slavery, murder, death, sexual assault, violence, slavery.)

Backlist bump: Circe by Madeline Miller

Just as I Am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson is 96 years old now, which is a lot of living, and she lays it all bare here in this fascinating memoir of one of entertainment’s most talented performers and one of humanity’s most amazing people.

Here are just a few of Tyson’s incredible accomplishments:

She has received four honorary degrees, a Screen Actor Guild Award, a Tony Award, multiple Emmy Awards, a Black Reel Awards, an honorary Academy Award, and the the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which given to her by President Barack Obama in 2016. These are only the tip of the accolade iceberg. And at 96 years old, she is still acting: she is presently making appearances on How To Get Away with Murder. (Which I really need to watch.)

But even though her honors and awards could probably fill a book on their own, this is also the story about a daughter of immigrants who started modeling at a young age and who became the first African American to star in a television drama. Tyson (with help from Michelle Burford) talks about her illustrious career, her faith, her struggles, and all the things in between, with candor and love. I learned so much, not just about Tyson, but also important industry history, and now I also want to watch so many of her performances.

(Content warning for discussions of violence, racism and racialized language, and chemical use.)

Backlist bump: Becoming by Michelle Obama

Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You): A How-to Guide from the First Family of Podcasting by Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, Griffin McElroy

And this was a fun read! As someone who hosts a podcast but has no idea how to go about doing it myself, it was really interesting to see all the different aspects to brainstorming, performing, and producing your own. And it’s a how-to guide written my favorite way: with delightful self-deprecating humor! The McElroys have hosted several podcasts, including The Adventure Zone, and they take turns breaking down the different things you’re going to need if you want to a) start a podcast b) make that podcast a success and possibly c) make money off the podcast. (Which I am sad to report is very rare, considering there are almost one million podcasts out there now.)

I was thoroughly charmed the whole way through and now I feel like I have the tools if I ever decide to start my “Stephen Tobolowsky/Kurt Fuller/Xander Berkley Appreciation Show” podcast. Although I could have used more info on what to do if you are still terrified of recording and get the flop sweats, even after recording almost 300 episodes of your show. Er, asking for a friend.

Backlist bump: The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch

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. – XO, Liberty

New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Welcome back, book fans! There are some exciting things happening this week and I am here for all of it. In the book world, I am particularly excited about the release of The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard. It’s possibly my favorite book of the year already. I read it last summer and I still think about it all the time. And I am also a big fan of Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West, so you bet your sweet bippy that I signed up to hear Hubbard and West in conversation on Thursday!

Speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Tirzah and I discussed some of the wonderful books being released today, such as Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Remote Control, Winterkeep, and more.

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

The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine by Janice P. Nimura 

Last year, I read a fantastic book about the first women to run a military hospital, and now this year, I read another excellent book about two more trailblazing women in the medical field. It’s the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, who defied societal conventions and studied medicine in the mid-19th century, becoming the first woman in America to receive an M.D. Later she was joined by her younger sister, Emily, who also became a physician, and together they founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, the first hospital staffed entirely by women. Nimura does an excellent job setting the scene with her subjects as she explores the sisters’ early years and careers, as well as their complicated relationship with each other. (You can also read about Elizabeth Blackwell in Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine by Olivia Campbell, which is out March 2.)

Backlist bump: No Man’s Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain’s Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I by Wendy Moore (Not quite backlist yet, but it’s a really great book and will be out in paperback in April.)

Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall

And this is a powerful novel about Frankie Green, a young man in Jamaica who is trying to make a better life for himself and his family. But Frankie’s father has been shot in gang violence, and with the mounting medical bills threatening to crush them, Frankie sees no other way to help than to join his uncle’s gang. But he finds himself in a situation he never thought he would be in, and Frankie realizes he should get out as soon as he can—but is it too late to leave? Frankie Green is faced with impossible decisions and a longing for a different life, and readers’ hearts will break for him.

Backlist bump: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication by Alexander Larman

I have long been fascinated by Wallis Simpson, the woman who won over the King of England, causing one of the biggest scandals in England’s history. They fell in love, but because Simpson was a soon-to-be divorced American, it wasn’t possible for them to wed, meaning King Edward VIII would have to look elsewhere for his queen. But instead, he abdicated on December 10, 1936, leaving his position as ruler of England and following his heart. Many books have been written about Simpson, but this is a more in-depth look at the whole time period, including their romance, the King’s politics and the attempt on his life, his detractors who wanted him gone for various reasons, and the ensuing scandal over the abdication.

Backlist bump: The American Duchess: The Real Wallis Simpson by Anna Pasternak

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. – XO, Liberty

New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, star bits! We are almost halfway through January already and I am hip-deep in books! There are a lot of great books coming out today, and I am excited to share a few that I loved. And let’s hear it again for books: hip-hip-hooray! Because honestly, kittens, they are really helping me get through each day. I hope that you have found some wonderful things to read, too, or anything that makes you happy right now.

Speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Vanessa and I discussed wonderful books being released today, such as Yellow Wife, The House on Vesper Sands, What Could Be Saved, and more.

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

Hades, Argentina by Daniel Loedel 

This powerful debut is about love and loss, set in a fraught political climate. For years, Tomás Orilla has been in love with Isabel, the daughter of his mother’s friend. The year is now 1976 and Tomás is a medical student. He has moved back to Buenos Aires in the hopes of being with Isabel for good. But their work to fight an increasingly oppressive and violent regime leads to tragedy for them.

Now, ten years later, Tomás is living in America and trying to figure out what he wants from his marriage when he is summoned back to Buenos Aires. There he will have to face the ghosts of his past, and come to terms with his guilt and pain over what happened a decade before, in order to move on with his life.

This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching book, based in part on true events from Loedel’s life. I try not to use the adjective ‘haunting’ very often, but it definitely applies here.

(Content warning for physical violence, illness, infidelity, sexual assault, and murder.)

Backlist bump: Swimming in the Dark: A Novel by Tomasz Jedrowski (Not technically backlist yet, but since 2020 felt like five years long, I’m totally picking it.

The Inland Sea by Madeleine Watts

And here is another tremendous, heartbreaking book! A young writer in Australia takes a part-time job as an emergency dispatch operator for 911. As the weeks go by, the negative effects of listening to people’s cries for help start to seep into her life, and she becomes more reckless with her own life.

Also chronicled is the adventures of her great-great-great-great grandfather, the British explorer John Oxley, who traveled around Australia two centuries earlier believing there to be an ‘inland sea’.

This is a stark look at violence, desperation, climate change, and PTSD, but it’s also incredibly original and a beautiful exploration of second-hand trauma interwoven with the climate crisis.

(Content warning straight across the board, because I read this a long time ago and cannot remember all the specifics. It is pretty bleak, so be prepared.)

Backlist bump: The Hunter by Julia Leigh

That Old Country Music: Stories by Kevin Barry

I am a huge fan of Kevin Barry. I don’t think his work gets nearly enough attention in the US. His last book, the novel, Night Boat to Tangier, was one of my favorites of 2019. His work is always a little funny and a little unusual. This new collection is more of his magic in smaller bites. It’s eleven stories based in Ireland, full of love and life, grief and hope. With some sex and magic sprinkled here and there. It’s a perfect collection for people who like to savor short stories and read them a little bit at a time. (I also highly recommend his novel Beatlebone, which involves John Lennon and a shapreshifter in Ireland in 1978.)

Backlist bump: Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

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. – XO, Liberty

New Books

First Tuesday of January Megalist!

Happy New Year, kittens! New Year’s Day is my second-favorite day of every year (after Daylight Savings in the fall, when we turn the clocks back and get an extra hour to read.) I love starting a new reading spreadsheet and seeing how many books I can read for the year! Related: Have you tried the Book Riot Reading Log? It’s what I use to keep track of what I read each year.

Today is the first Tuesday of 2021, and we’re hitting the ground running! There are a ton of books out today. You can hear about several new releases on this week’s episode of the All the Books! Danika and I discussed Outlawed, Black Buck, Happily Ever Afters, and more.

As with each first Tuesday megalist, I am putting a ❤️ next to the books that I have had the chance to read and loved. I did get to a few of today’s books, but there are still soooo many more on this list that I can’t wait to read!

Before we get to the books, I want to wish you a wonderful year of reading. I can’t wait to see what wonderful books we discover together this year. Now, on the books! – XO, Liberty

Outlawed by Anna North ❤️

The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley

Picnic In the Ruins by Todd Robert Petersen ❤️

After the Rain by Nnedi Okorafor, John Jennings, David Brame (Illustrator) 

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour ❤️

Goldie Vance: The Hocus-Pocus Hoax by Lilliam Rivera and Brittney Williams

To Be Honest by Michael Leviton ❤️

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant 

The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America by Bradford Pearson 

Every Body: An Honest and Open Look at Sex from Every Angle by Julia Rothman 

The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. ❤️

Spring Stinks (Mother Bruce Series) by Ryan T. Higgins

West End Girls: A Novel by Jenny Colgan

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala ❤️

Featherhood: A Memoir of Two Fathers and a Magpie by Charlie Gilmour 

Single and Forced to Mingle: A Guide for (Nearly) Any Socially Awkward Situation by Melissa Croce

Night Bird Calling by Cathy Gohlke 

Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection by Marissa King

The Push by Ashley Audrain

Love Songs for Skeptics: A Novel by Christina Pishiris

White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind by Koa Beck

The Art of Falling: A Novel by Danielle McLaughlin 

Pickard County Atlas: A Novel by Chris Harding Thornton 

Better Luck Next Time: A Novel by Julia Claiborne Johnson 

Peacemaker by Joseph Bruchac

Not My Boy by Kelly Simmons 

The Life I’m In by Sharon G. Flake

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss by Amy Noelle Parks

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite ❤️

The Shadow by Melanie Raabe, Imogen Taylor (translator)

Root Magic by Eden Royce

Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis 

Siege of Rage and Ruin (The Wells of Sorcery Trilogy Book 3) by Django Wexler 

The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington, Olga Tokarczuk

Glimpsed by G.F. Miller 

City of Schemes (A Counterfeit Lady Novel Book 4) by Victoria Thompson 

The Trouble with Good Ideas by Amanda Panitch

Bone Canyon (Eve Ronin Book 2) by Lee Goldberg 

The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz, Tiffany D. Jackson

A Deadly Fortune: A Novel by Stacie Murphy

The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson

Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues by Andrea Williams

Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning by Tom Vanderbilt 

Crown of Bones by A.K. Wilder

Lore by Alexandra Bracken ❤️

When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington ❤️

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day

Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding by Daniel Lieberman  

Slash And Burn by Claudia Hernández, Julia Sanches (translator)

Our Darkest Night: A Novel of Italy and the Second World War by Jennifer Robson

The Night Lake: A Young Priest Maps the Topography of Grief by Liz Tichenor

S.O.S.: Society of Substitutes #1: The Great Escape by Alan Katz, Alex Lopez 

Unsolaced: Along the Way to All That Is by Gretel Ehrlich

Here Lies a Father by Mckenzie Cassidy

Persephone Station by Stina Leicht

The Wife Upstairs: A Novel by Rachel Hawkins 

A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion ❤️

Driven: The Race to Create the Autonomous Car by Alex Davies

Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham

I Just Wanted to Save My Family by Stéphan Pélissier and Adriana Hunter 

A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself by Peter Ho Davies ❤️

Stay Safe (Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry) by Emma Hine

The Portrait: A Novel by Ilaria Bernardini

Unplugged by Gordon Korman

The Butterfly House by Katrine Engberg

The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga’s History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices by Daniel Simpson

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho

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New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Hello, lovelies! This is the last Tuesday we will be spending together in 2020, which is wild to think about. WHAT A YEAR. And while I feel that the changing of years is arbitrary in respect to a lot of things, it does feel good to think of it as hitting COMMAND + SHIFT + REFRESH on the universe. And I am never not excited to roll my book count back to zero on January 1st. So I wanted to do something special for this week’s newsletter, so I thought I would list several of the books I am anticipating in the new year that I haven’t read yet!

Before I get to that, I want to remind you that one of my favorite books of the year, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg, is out next week. It gets all the heart eyes from me! (If you’d like to see my favorite books of 2020, I collected them in an Instagram post.)

Also, this weekend I finally read The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson, and it is also swoon-worthy. And for this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I discussed some of our most anticipated books of 2021, such as The Rib King, Dial A for Aunties, Harlem Shuffle, and more.

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

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (January 12)

A look into the lives of three women, trans and cis, as they navigate family, sex, and love in 21st century America.

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor (January 19)

An alien artifact turned Fatima into Death’s daughter, giving her the ability to kill with one touch. Now she searches the lands, with her pet fox by her side, hoping to find the artifact once more.

Annie and the Wolves by Andromeda Romano-Lax (February 2)

A modern-day historian’s obsession with the infamous Annie Oakley costs her her job, her doctorate, and her fiancé. But when she unearths what appear to be Oakley’s secret midlife journals, it may have all been worth it.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell (February 2)

The Emperor’s least favorite grandson is brought before the Emperor and commanded to repair relations with another planet by marrying a count, a recent widower of that planet’s royal prince.

Land of Big Numbers: Stories by Te-Ping Chen (February 2)

A debut collection of incendiary stories about the people of China, past and present, and their history, their government, and their land.

Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih (February 16)

An examination of queer friendship and queer love, told through the lives of two classmates who reconnect ten years later at a wedding in Washington, D.C.

Who Will Pay Reparations on My Soul?: Essays by Jesse McCarthy (March 9)

McCarthy, an exciting new voice in criticism, examines everything from “Ta-Nehisi Coates’s case for reparations to D’Angelo’s simmering blend of R&B and racial justice.”

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge (March 30)

Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States, Libertie is about a free-born Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn who goes against her mother’s wishes in her search for her own future.

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton (April 20)

A fictional oral history of a beloved rock ’n’ roll duo whose rising star quickly explodes and plummets at the height of their fame.

Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala (May 4)

A young woman who moves home to help save her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant finds herself a suspect in a murder when a local food critic (and ex-boyfriend) is murdered.

The Atmospherians by Alex McElroy (May 18)

A business woman who has lost everything because of trolls and her oldest childhood friend run a rehabilitation community for toxic men at an abandoned summer camp.

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd (May 25)

I don’t have any details about this one, but I loved The Book of M, so you can bet your sweet bippy I’m going to read it as soon as it’s available.

The Witch King (The Witch King #1) by H.E. Edgmon (June 1)

The first in a new duology about a trans witch who must face his past and return to the fae kingdom (and the royal fiancé) he left behind in order to save his people.

The Hidden Palace: A Tale of the Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (June 8)

Yes, it’s finally happening: We get to join Chava and Ahmad from The Golem and the Jinni for an epic new adventure!

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby (July 6)

The author of the runaway 2020 hit Blacktop Wasteland returns with a new story of two fathers working together to get revenge on the people responsible for the murder of their sons.

You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo (September 7)

A space opera set at a restaurant on the edge of the galaxy. The blurb calls it “Farscape meets The Great British Bake Off” and I WANT THIS SO BAD.

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (September 14)

Whitehead released the info on this book himself last week. It’s set in the 1960s and is about an upstanding Black salesman who falls on hard times, so he returns to his family-taught tricks of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs.

In Open Country: A Memoir by Rahawa Haile (September 14)

Haile uses “her 2016 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail to explore what it means to move through America and the world as a black woman.” (FYI: This release date has been moved a couple times already.)

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (September 24)

A ghost refuses to cross over to the other side after he falls in love with the ferryman. (Also, this is your reminder that The House in the Cerulean Sea is the most delightful book I read in 2020.)

Alecto the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Trilogy Book 3) by Tamsyn Muir 

I have no information on this one yet, not even a release date. All I know is that it is for sure-probably-most likely being released in 2021. I guess I’ll have to read Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth again while I wait…

Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! Despite the entire world being over a Hellmouth this year, the love and kindness and creativity you have all shared has meant everything to me. Happy holidays to you and the ones you love, and be safe, friends. – XO, Liberty

New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

It’s Tuesday!!!! That means it is time to talk about awesome new books. Because of the holidays, the list of books being released today is very small. There are still a few that I am excited to get my hands on, such as This Is How We Fly by Anna Meriano and The Ancient Hours by Michael Bible. And I recently read Revolutions of All Colors by Dewaine Farria, which is also out today, and it ended up being one of my favorite novels of the year. I HIGHLY recommend it.

Because the pickings are slim, and the end of the year is so close, I’ve decided to tell you about three more books coming next year that I have absolutely loved. YAY BOOKS! And for this week’s episode of All the Books! Tirzah and I discussed some of our favorite books of 2020, such as Ring Shout, When No One is Watching, Interior Chinatown, and more.

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

Jillian vs. Parasite Planet by Nicole Kornher-Stace, Scott Brown (illustrator)

This is a middle grade novel packed to the gills with action and adventure! Jillian is an 11-year-old who experiences anxiety when trying new things. Her parents are space explorers, something that Jillian finds very exciting, and when the book opens, she’s on her way to see their lab for the first time for Take Your Daughter to Work Day. But when she gets there, her parents have a surprise for her: They’re leaving on a new mission, right away, and they’ve managed to get Jillian a place on the shuttle. Of course, Jillian is apprehensive. It’s one thing to visit a lab, it’s another thing entirely to go off-planet. But her parents assure her that it is the safest planet and the dullest mission that could possibly exists, so she decides to do it. What could go wrong?

Famous. Last. Words.

Instead, upon arriving on the planet, their shuttle crashes, her parents are severely injured, and now Jillian is left alone and in charge of getting them home. Not exactly how she saw her day going when she got up that morning. Well, Jillian isn’t exactly alone: she does have the help of SABRINA, a sentient, sarcastic nanobot-ish shapeshifter AI, who serves a lot of purposes. SABRINA can change into things Jillian needs, or it can can separate and be two places at once, which means scouting for danger or water and food, while also tending to Jillian’s parents. SABRINA is like the genie from the animated Alladin movie with the personality of (I’m dating myself here) the Flight of the Navigator robot.

In order to last the five days until their return portal to Earth opens, Jillian needs to find shelter, tend to her injured parents, and round up food and water, because everything they had was lost in the crash. She has SABRINA to help, but compounding the difficulty of lasting five days are the teeming masses of invasive green alien worms, who are determined to eat them (how rude!) and everything else in their path. As the days go by, Jillian finds her strength and faces her fears to save herself and the ones she loves.

The planet and the aliens are cool, the story is action packed and occasionally intense, and the characters are wonderful. And I really loved SABRINA, the snarky not-robot cloud thingy. I am a big fan of sarcastic AI. (See also: Murderbot.)

(Content warning: Child peril, parental accidents and injuries, anxiety, animal death, gore.)

Picnic In the Ruins by Todd Robert Petersen (Counterpoint, January 5, 2021)

I think one of the hardest things to do well in crime novels is the chase scene/car chase sequence. To convey the threat of capture, combined with the excitement and fear, on the page is a difficult thing to do. But this fantastic novel nails it!

This is a crime novel, but it’s also a serious look at archaeological digs, artifacts, and ownership. Sophia Shepard is a young anthropologist who is researching the impact of tourism on cultural sites at a national monument on the Utah-Arizona border. But things take a dangerous turn when she accidentally sees something of value that two hired thieves stole from an old artifact collector. The thieves are a pair of brothers who are part esoteric lunkheads, part dangerous cutthroats. Realizing that she’s seen what they have, and also realizing her skills would come in handy in their search for treasure, the brothers decide to pursue her. But as the brothers chase after Sophia, an even more dangerous man is searching for them.

But this isn’t just a thriller – it’s also one of the funniest books I have read in years. It’s full of great, dry humor. (There’s a scene involving the use of “Staying Alive” by The BeeGees during CPR that had me in tears, and a Star Wars reference that had me cackling.) Plus, there is crackling dialogue, and some really great points about who owns history. This is a perfect read for fans of Elmore Leonard, William Boyle, and The Coen Brothers.

TL;DR: Riotous comedy + psychopathic murderyness = very much my jam. I loved this book to freaking pieces.

(Content warning: Cultural appropriation and theft, violence, murder, suicide, chemical use, and kidnapping.

We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen (MIRA, January 26, 2021)

Jamie and Zoe are strangers who wake up one day in separate apartments they don’t remember renting. The bad news: they have no memory of who they are or how they got there. The good news: they have superpowers. As they go about their lives, Jamie decides to use his powers for evil, erasing people’s minds to pull off bank heists. Zoe becomes a heroic vigilante, catching criminals in the city, which is how she and Jamie first cross paths. A second encounter at a support group for people with memory loss leads them to realize they have a lot in common: they may both be part of some unknown plan. Together, they seek the truth of their pasts, while becoming besties along the way.

I love this book so much that I actually talked about it for almost ten minutes to a friend before I realized I hadn’t even mentioned that Jamie and Zoe had powers. There’s just so many great parts to mention! It’s a funny, refreshing take on superpower origin stories, full of adventure, but it’s not very violent or mean-spirited. It’s also queer and diverse, and bonus: there’s no romance! All these things add up to one of the most exciting novels headed our way next year. Put it at the top of your list now! – (I stole this blurb from my contribution to the Riot Roundup: The Best Books We Read in July-October. Shhh, don’t tell Santa.)

(Content warning: intense action, violence, illness, and injuries.)

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. – XO, Liberty