The Stack


Today’s The Stack is sponsored by Playster.

playster_logo_200wPlayster is the world’s first all-in-one entertainment service. It takes care of everything — comics, ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies, TV shows and games — and gives you unlimited access to millions of titles for one flat monthly fee. That’s right! Playster lets you enjoy unlimited comics, audiobooks and ebooks — no restrictions, no credit systems.

The service is accessible through all web browsers, and Playster’s Android and iOS apps, on virtually any device. The offline mode lets you save all of your favorites for on-the-go reading when there’s no Internet access around. Sign up today to get your free 30 day trial!

Riot Rundown


We’re giving away a 12-month Audible membership.
Go here to enter.



Audiobooks!: December 15, 2016

rha-176-snowman-1080px-instaThis week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by

Traveling for the holidays? Make your trip more enjoyable with an audiobook! Plug into a bestseller to catch up on some reading or play a title the whole family can enjoy! Visit for a full free download for your listening pleasure.

Gather ’round, audiobook fans! My plan today was to give you guys a round-up of all the amazing audiobooks that have gotten shout outs on Best of 2016 lists. But then I actually looked at those lists. And I was bored.

One audiobook site wanted me to surrender my email address to see their picks. Another site gave top honors to books by white men in categories where they were up against The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. Uh, what? Soon, the major awards arm of the audiobook industry will announce their finalists, and I’ll again wonder who on earth these picks are supposed to be for. They’re not for me, and they’re not for new fans who are getting jazzed about up-and-coming authors like Malka Older, Kanae Minato, Manuel Gonzales, and so on.

Audiobook publishing has gotten super exciting, and the recent growth curve for audiobooks is BASICALLY indistinguishable from a black diamond ski run. My fingers are crossed that audiobook media will catch up!

2 More Audiobooks For Your TBR

I love finding new-to-me authors at Book Riot Live, and this fall it was Sara Farizan and Tara Clancy. I queued up If You Could Be Mine and The Clancys of Queens faster than you can say “Reginald the Pigeon,” and both made my heart sing and my stomach flip.

If You Could Be Mineif-you-could-be-mine-audio by Sara Farizan is about two young women who’ve been in love since childhood. But they live in Iran, where being a woman who loves another woman is punishable by death. Sex reassignment surgery is perfectly legal, though. Could this be the answer to their predicament? This story has all the ingredients of a great YA book: angst, secret smooching, forbidden love, heartache. But it’s also unexpectedly hilarious! Sara Farizan has the BEST deadpan humor in person, and Negin Farsad brings this out in spades in her narration of the book. Farsad is an Iranian-American comedian, and she just gets Farizan in a way that allows her to wring every last drop of humor from an otherwise heartbreaking story. One of my fave listens this year! <3

clancys-of-queens-audioYou might already know Tara Clancy from her storytelling performances on The Moth. This lady was born to tell stories, and she’s perfected her art in front of the toughest crowds: Irish Catholic bar-goers in Queens (!). Her memoir The Clancys of Queens was born of her desire to read stories about working class women in New York, of which she can still name only one: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. With a boatload of humor and charm, Clancy tells about her childhood growing up between worlds, her parents’ divorce, and coming out to her ex-cop dad as a young adult. Her distinctive Queens accent is its own larger-than-life character, and these stories are just meant to be listened to.

Book Riot’s 25 Best Audiobooks of 2016

the-mothers-audio2016 was such an exciting year for audiobooks! Halfway through the year, we just couldn’t wait and we rounded up our favorites thus far. Now we get to share the rest! Presenting 25 excellent audiobooks in all: from Imbolo Mbue to Hope Jahren, we think there’s a little something here for everyone.

Raise Your Hand If You Want a Free 12-Month Audible Membership!

Young african american man in white shirt listens headphones in a parkMe, me, my hand is raised! Oh wait, Book Riot employees aren’t eligible? FINE. You guys, Book Riot is giving away a 12-month Audible membership! The membership includes one free audiobook per month for a year, discounted member prices on all titles, and access to Audible’s occasional member-only sales. To enter, just sign up for one of our newsletters. Full details here, and the giveaway closes this Sunday December 18 at midnight Eastern… so get to it.

The Goods

Book Mail resend 12/14

  1. Put some books in a box.
  2. Delight!

The new Book Mail box is here, and it’s a glorious books-within-books bonanza. Get two rad reads and an assortment of bookish goodies, plus exclusive original content from one of the authors, for just $60 including shipping. Get one before they’re gone.


In the mood for a different flavor? We held on to some of our past Book Mail dispatches just for the holidays! See their contents and buy one now.


We Have 50(!) Copies of GEEKARELLA by Ashley Poston to Give Away!

We have 50 (!) Advance Reading Copies of Ashley Poston’s Geekerella to give away to 50 Riot readers.

Here’s what it’s about:

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale. Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the book’s cover image below!


Unusual Suspects

Noir Reading Recs, Upcoming Sequels, and More Mystery/Thrillers

I may not be surrounded by my usual piles of books—currently I’m surrounded by stacks of gifts, gift tags, and countless rolls of wrapping paper that refuse to stop rolling off the table—but I am still 100% about discussing books! So lets get to all the mystery, crime, and murders which I like to believe don’t get solved until we read them.

Norwegian Crime:

the-lions-mouth-by-anne-holtI discovered Anne Holt thanks to Rioter Leila Roy’s Queens of Crimes. I’m a big fan of Scandinavian crime novels/Nordic noir because they’re dark and morally complicated, so I had to read Holt. Her Hanne Wilhelmsen series (one of three) is now mostly translated to English. I was reading out of order since they were being translated out of order BUT if you haven’t read the series yet you’re in luck: The Lion’s Mouth (#4), Dead Joker (#5), No Echo (#6), and Beyond the Truth (#7) published in the U.S. this year so you can read the first eight novels in the series in order. If you’re a dabbler or don’t care about order, the novels 1222 and The Lion’s Mouth work as stand-alones.

So. Many. Twists.

kill-the-next-one-by-federico-axatI’m not going to say a lot about Federico Axat’s Kill the Next One because I was totally unprepared for all the sharp turns in the novel and I don’t want to take that awesome experience away from other readers. The novel starts with Ted, having been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, about to take his own life, except he’s interrupted by a stranger with a strange proposition who knows way too much about Ted. Ted complies with the stranger’s request and quickly realizes nothing is as it seems. And when I say nothing is at is seems, I mean nothing. You have no idea where this is going after the opening. Enjoy!

Megan Abbott has excellent taste! (Not that it was up for debate.)

follow-her-home-by-steph-chaAbbott listed her favorite thriller writers in By the Book and having never heard of Steph Cha, I knew I had to read her. In Follow Her Home, Juniper Song, a mid-twenties Korean-American with a fixation for Philip Marlowe, decides to help a close friend who fears his father is having an affair. Song may not actually be a PI but she has many similarities and I think would get listed with the best of the best—terrible smoking habit included. Song is broken from the past, dripping with sarcasm, relentless, and my new favorite main character in a noir series. Speaking of series, I need to go buy Beware Beware and Dead Soon Enough.

Sequels are coming!

a-murder-in-time-by-julie-mcelwainA Murder in Time (Kendra Donovan #1) by Julie McElwain: McElwain sprinkles a bit of accidental time travel to place modern day FBI agent Kendra Donovan in a British castle in 1815. Add a serial killer and Donovan’s continual forgetfulness/refusal to oblige with 1800s rules for women, and you have a great feminist mystery. The second in the series, A Twist in Time, is listed as coming April 2017!

a-front-page-affair-by-radha-vatsalA Front Page Affair (Kitty Weeks Mystery #1) by Radha Vatsal: This is perfect for readers who love a mystery but try to avoid graphic violence, especially towards women, and are historical fiction fans. Set in NY at the beginning of World War I, Capability “Kitty” Weeks finds herself trying to solve a murder that occurred during an event she’d attended while working as a reporter for the women’s fashion section of The Sentinel. While she is more than capable of not only solving the crime and being a newspaper reporter, she’s a woman in a time where women aren’t even allowed to vote. The second book in the series, Murder Between the Lines, is listed as coming May 2017!

Adaptation news:

Caleb Carr’s The Alienist began casting for the TNT adaptation.

HBO is done teasing us and finally released the official trailer for Big Little Lies.

Carl Hiaasen’s Basket Case may be coming to Fox.

The first issue has me excited for the series!

mega-princess-1-by-kelly-thompsonImagine having zero interest in being a princess because you’ve already decided you want to be a detective. Now imagine you have no say in things because you’re only ten. That’s what Max is dealing with in Mega Princess #1 by Kelly Thompson, Brianne Drouhard, M. Victoria Robado. Even after a visit from her fairy godmother, who mints her with some extra princess powers, Max is undeterred from becoming a detective. She even has a sarcastic horse sidekick!

If you’re planning a murder mystery party and are a fan of cutting:

These printable murder mystery photo booth props look awesome. They even seem like fun to wear while playing Clue.

Find yourself with less time than usual during the holiday season?

Read a great mystery short story published in The Atlantic: Reply to a Dead Man by Walter Mosley

Until next time, keep investigating! And in the meantime feel free to come talk books with me on Litsy, you can find me under Jamie Canaves.

We’re giving away a 12-month Audible membership. Go here to enter!

Win a Free Membership to Audible

We’re giving away a 12-month Audible membership. Go here to enter


Win $100 to Spend at Powell’s

For book lovers, one of the best parts of the holiday season is having a great excuse to spend time in bookstores. And, for my money at least, there is no better bookstore in the U.S. than Powell’s. Great selection of both used and new books, unrivaled book-related products, a great website for buying and browsing online: Powell’s has it all.

So we are thrilled to have a $100 Powell’s digital gift card  to give away to a Book Riot reader, thanks to our friends at Early Bird Books.

Go here to enter the giveaway, or just click on the image below:



Join Us For Read Harder Book Group This Week!

While some of our Read Harder Book Groups are taking December off for the holidays, there are still four of them meeting. Join us if you’re nearby; and for everyone else, we’ll hope to see you in January!

animated GIF of Betty White and friend clinking ridiculously enormous wine glases, with the caption

Chicago, IL – 12/15
NYC, NY – 12/17
Philadelphia, PA – 12/18
Washington, DC – 12/18

New Books

Great December New Releases!

While the last six weeks of the year are notoriously light on amazing new releases, there are still a few. So I have made you a list of notable books out this month. (Because I love you and I want you to read books and be happy!) And you can hear Rebecca and I discuss some of our favorite novels of 2016 on this week’s new episode of the All the Books! We talked about awesome books such as The Underground Railroad, Homegoing, and Sweetgirl.

mother-nile-book-coverThis week’s newsletter is sponsored by Mother Nile by Warren Adler.

A dazzling triumph from the NYT bestselling author of The War of the Roses – high-caliber historical fiction that plunges readers into a rich, dark world of sex, power, politics, drugs, and Egypt.

A sweeping and ambitious novel spanning across two eras and the city at the center of it all,

Mother Nile is the story of Si, the American-born son of an Irish father and Egyptian mother, who goes on a journey through the winding streets of the City of the Dead in Cairo to solve a half-century-old mystery. When his mother makes an urgent plea on her deathbed, Si knows that he must go to Egypt to uncover the truth about his long-lost half-sister, conceived during his mother’s affair with King Farouk.

Holiday deal alert! Get MOTHER NILE for $2.99 exclusively through Book Riot with this link.

whatever happenedWhatever Happened to Interracial Love?: Stories by Kathleen Collins

The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

The Ornatrix by Kate Howard

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind by Siri Histvedt

Show Me a Mountain by Kerry Young

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith

kill the next oneKill the Next One by Federico Axat

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

The Private Life of Mrs Sharma by Ratika Kapur

Island of the Mad by Laurie Sheck

Spies in Palestine: Love, Betrayal and the Heroic Life of Sarah Aaronsohn by James Srodes

Piano Tide by Kathleen Dean Moore

The Boy Who Escaped Paradise by J. M. Lee (Author), Chi-Young Kim Translator (Translator)

The Hot Topic: A Life-Changing Look at the Change of Life by Christa D’Souza

the twilight wifeThe Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir by Michael Anthony

Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide) by Sarah Knight

YAY, BOOKS! That’s it for me today. And if you want to learn more about books (and see lots of pictures of my cats, Millay and Steinbeck), or tell me about books you’re reading, you can find me on Twitter at MissLiberty, on Instagram at FranzenComesAlive, or Litsy under ‘Liberty’!

Stay rad!



Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships: December 16 2016

Hello nerdfriends and geek pals!

We’re giving away a 12-month Audible membership. Go here to enter.

Win a Free Membership to Audible


As promised, I’ve got gift suggestions galore. But so many of you were interested in last time’s link to the Guardian’s Best Of list for 2016 science fiction and fantasy that I decided to include a round-up of a few others! You’ll see some overlap, so here’s a TL;DR list of the most-repeated titles:

Infomocracy, Malka Older
All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
The Devourers, Indra Das
The Obelisk Gate, NK Jemisin
Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee
Death’s End, Cixin Liu
Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer

The lists themselves:

– Book Riot’s own Best Of 2016 is here and you can sort by genre.
The Washington Post‘s Nancy Hightower picked five.
Barnes & Noble’s list is delightfully long and includes a bonus 12 honorable mentions.
Omnivoracious picked eight. asked 11 contributors to pick three each.
Publishers Weekly picked six.

And now, onto my Gift Guide for Procrastinating Nerds.

Let’s Start With Books

Staff (and personal) favorite Lauren Beukes got stellar new covers for her mind-bending older books, Moxyland and Zoo City. Get both for the dedicated Beukes fan or either to introduce them to the wonders of her imagination!
Price range: less than $20 each

We are happily not short on geeky coloring books. Pick your fandom: Game of ThronesD&D’s Monsters and Heroes of the Realm; there’s a whole line of Harry Potter ones; the rabbit-hole goes on and on. For a nice pairing and starter-kit, add a set of Pop of Color pencils.
Price range: less than $20 each

For the nerd who has everything OR doesn’t know where to start, I recommend Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, edited by Karen Joy Fowler and including favorites Sofia Samatar, Kelly Link, Charlie Jane Anders, and Ted Chiang.
Price range: $20ish

For the nerd who loves art, you cannot do better than Shaun Tan’s beautiful and epic The Singing Bones (there’s a great review on
Price range: $20ish 

For the classics-inclined geek, these new Penguin Galaxy covers are drool-worthy. They’ve got a cornucopia of standards, including Dune, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Once and Future King.
Price range: $20ish 

This book was all the rage when it came out in hardcover a couple years back (to the point where it was on backorder for actual months), but I bet we don’t all own Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm AND WE SHOULD.
Price range: $20ish in paperback

If you’re looking to introduce someone to NK Jemisin’s work (or help out a completist), the Dreamblood Duology has a lovely new omnibus edition. (Bonus: we’re doing a giveaway of her Broken Earth books right now!)
Price range: $20ish 

What about a gift that keeps on giving? Here’s a genre-focused subscription box that’ll send a selection of themed books every other month!
Price range: $30+ per box

How about something for the armchair traveler and those looking for magic in our own world? Let me introduce you to Atlas Obscura.
Price range: $30+

For the Le Guin completist, while we’re all awaiting the illustrated Earthsea: have a beautiful boxed set of her short stories and novellas (which I can verify are well worth owning).
Price range: $50+

If the Penguin Galaxy covers appeal to you but are not quite fancy enough, The Folio Society has you covered (that illustrated Voyage of the Argo, though.)
Price range: $50+

Who doesn’t need a new Star Trek Encyclopedia, I ask you.
Price range: $100+

Now For Some Things Which Are Not Books

For the wickedest witch in your life: a Bellatrix enamel pin.
Price range: less than $20

For the gaming/Adventure Time enthusiast in your life: a BMO Light-Up journal.
Price range: $20ish 

For fans of The Martian: a “Science The Shit Out Of It” shirt!
Price range: $20ish

Beam us up, Scotty: an ugly sweater Star Trek-style!
Price range: $40ish

Listen, y’all, I own a cuddly Hulk from this seller and it is the best “late night lying in bed lurking on Tumblr” purchase I have ever made: get your own Nerd Plush.
Price range: $40+ 

For geek couture: I don’t know what to be more excited about from Elhoffer Designs, the Galactic vest and armwarmers or those Hogwarts sweaters.
Price range: $50+

For those strong in the Force: BB8 now has a Force Band!
Price range: $80 – $200

For the well-heeled gear-head: High-end gear gear.
Price range: $125+

But wait, there’s more! We’ve got a few Book Fetish posts that speak to your needs as well. For example, this one is entirely composed of Game of Thrones lingerie options. And for your comics-loving friends and relatives, a special edition.


Happy holidays, and may the shopping odds be ever in your favor!