Win a Copy of Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker!

We have 10 copies of Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Much advice about achievement is logical, earnest… and downright wrong. In Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker reveals the extraordinary science behind what actually determines success. You’ll learn:

• Why valedictorians rarely become millionaires

• How your biggest weakness might be your greatest strength

• Lessons about cooperation from gangs, pirates, and serial killers

• The Navy SEAL secret to “grit”

• How to find work-life balance from Genghis Khan, Albert Einstein, and Spider-Man

By looking at what separates the extremely successful from the rest of us, we learn how to be more like them—and discover why it’s sometimes good that we aren’t.

Go here to enter the giveaway, or just click on the cover image below. Good luck!

New Books

Murderous Grannies, Musical Writing, and More New Books!

Book time, book time, la la la la la la! First things first: Radiate, the third book in C.A. Higgin’s Lightless trilogy, is out today!!! I loved these books so much. So spacey and dark! Now I’ll tell you about a few new books not wrapping up awesome trilogies, and you can also hear about several more great books on this week’s episode of the All the Books! Rebecca and I talked about amazing books we loved, such as Black Mad Wheel, Chemistry, and Augustown.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld.

Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone. The Spill claimed Addison’s parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn’t spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone’s twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death—or worse.

When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits—and it seems to be calling Addison’s name.

wicked wondersWicked Wonders by Ellen Klages

Amazing oddities and fantastic flights of fancy dominate this fabulous collection of tales. A haunted penny arcade, faeries, and rebellious children are just part of the fun in these clever stories. Klages has been putting out incredible work for years and years – most recently The Green Glass Sea – and it would be wonderful to see her get a bigger audience and more recognition.

Backlist bump: You Have Never Been Here by Mary Rickert

a good countryA Good Country by Laleh Khadivi

Alireza Courdee has always been a straight-A student, working to make his Iranian immigrant parents proud. But he’s also a fourteen-year-old boy, and he has begun engaging in normal teenage behavior: experimenting with drugs, sneaking out to parties, surfing, sex. But what begins as a time of carefree experimentation for Reza slips into dangerous territory when he joins a group of boys who share his background and soon finds himself on his way to Syria. A Good Country is a timely and powerful read that questions how big a role we play in our destinies.

Backlist bump: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

murder in materaMurder In Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy by Helene Stapinski

Stapinski grew up in a family of thieves in Chicago – but they weren’t the only relatives who may have broken the law. Growing up, she heard that her Italian grandmother had murdered someone before moving to America. Stapinski’s interest in her grandmother’s story only deepened as an adult, and over the years and several trips to Italy, she uncovered long-buried secrets that she then turned into this wonderful historical whodunit/family memoir. Makes you wonder about your own grandmother…

Backlist bump: Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History by Helene Stapinski (One of my favorite memoirs!)

shake it upShake It Up: Great American Writing on Rock and Pop from Elvis to Jay Z: A Library of America Special Publication by Jonathan Lethem (Editor), Kevin Dettmar (Editor)

A fantastic anthology of important music writing comprised of fifty pieces covering pretty much every genre. Featuring discussions on Axl Rose, heavy metal, Elvis, Prince, emo, Sam Cooke, and more. Contributors include Chuck Klosterman, Lester Bangs, Amiri Baraka, Eve Babitz, and John Jeremiah Sullivan. A beautiful gift for a dad, grad, or any other music lover in your life!

Backlist bump: Let it Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Critic by Jim Derogatis

That’s it for me today – time to get back to reading! If you want to learn more about books new and old (and see lots of pictures of my cats, Millay and Steinbeck), or tell me about books you’re reading, or books you think I should read (I HEART RECOMMENDATIONS!), you can find me on Twitter at MissLiberty, on Instagram at FranzenComesAlive, or Litsy under ‘Liberty’!

And ICYMI, I’m writing the new Book Riot newsletter, Book Radar, which will give you all those things! You can sign up here.

Stay rad,


Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Much advice about achievement is logical, earnest… and downright wrong. In Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker reveals the extraordinary science behind what actually determines success. You’ll learn:

· Why valedictorians rarely become millionaires
· How your biggest weakness might be your greatest strength
· Lessons about cooperation from gangs, pirates, and serial killers

· The Navy SEAL secret to “grit”

· How to find work-life balance from Genghis Khan, Albert Einstein, and Spider-Man

By looking at what separates the extremely successful from the rest of us, we learn how to be more like them—and discover why it’s sometimes good that we aren’t.

This Week In Books

Stop Donating THE DA VINCI CODE to Used Bookstores: This Week in Books

Sorry, Dan Brown, you’re not welcome at the Oxfam Shop in Swansea. Oookay, that’s totally not true. I’m sure the shop’s employees and customers would love to meet the man himself, but they ask–they beg–please, stop giving them copies of The Da Vinci Code. The charity shop has been receiving an average of one copy of the book per week, resulting in a dearth of space for other books. The situation grew dire enough that the Oxfam posted a sign asking customers to stop it with the copies. Don’t worry, Oxfam. Next time I’m in the UK, I promise I won’t show up on your doorstep with The Da Vinci Code. But how about this copy of Fifty Shades of Grey?

Whatever your opinion of Amazon, it has undeniably become the online book buying destination. So when the retailer launched Amazon Charts, their first weekly bestseller list, the book world took note. Amazon Charts will include not only their top 20 bestsellers in fiction and nonfiction, but also the 20 most read books in both categories. The list is unconventional with a unique array of features, which you can see for yourself.

Lately, when I read the news I hear a desperate, shell-shocked voice in my head. It mutters, “But that can’t happen…right?” But when I learned about the ceasing of all library services in Oregon’s Douglas County where residents voted down a ballot measure that would have saved their libraries from a funding crisis, that voice went silent. It did happen, it does happen, it will happen when we don’t make libraries a priority; when we don’t stop to consider the important services they provide, and I’m not just talking about books. I hear an ominous voice and it says, “Anything can happen.”

Netflix’s adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, Anne with an E, was released last Friday, and I’ve watched them all. I was ready to curl up into a new version of the cozy story I’d loved so much as a kid (although, truly, Emily of New Moon was my jam), but where’s the cozy at, Netflix? I’m going to watch the next season when it’s out, but I can’t deny HuffPost’s conclusion that the show seems to revel in Anne’s pain. That opening sequence tho.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Tender: Stories by Sofia Samatar, published in hardcover and ebook from Small Beer Press.

Sofia Samatar’s first novel won three awards. Now you can dive into twenty of her stories collected for the first time in Tender: Stories. Discover the “Ogres of East Africa” or read a student’s paper on the maybe-urban-legend-maybe-not “Walkdog.” Feel your heart break reading “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” and wonder who if anyone is telling the truth in “An Account of the Land of Witches.” Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, said “These stories are windows into an impressively deep imagination guided by sensitivity, joyful intellect, and a graceful mastery of language.”


Win the Complete SUMMONER series by Tarah Matharu!

We are giving away copies of the complete Summoner series by Taran Matharu!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Fletcher is working as a blacksmith’s apprentice when he discovers he has the rare ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must travel with his demon, Ignatius, to an academy for adepts, where the gifted are taught the art of summoning.

Along with nobles and commoners, Fletcher endures grueling lessons that will prepare him to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire’s war against the savage Orcs. But sinister forces infect new friendships and rivalries grow. With no one but Ignatius by his side, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of the Empire is in his hands.

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

Book Radar

Daveed Diggs, The Glass Castle, and more blips on the Book Radar!

Holy CATS, it is hot here in Maine. But everything is green and the air smells so good – it’s perfect reading weather. I hope it’s lovely where you are, too. (But, um, Colorado, what was up with that snow???) Here’s a bunch of bookish news to start your week off right. And remember, I love you and I like you. – xoxo, Liberty

Sponsored by the Lessons In Control Series

What would you do if someone offered to fulfill your wildest fantasies?




Dean Sova is everything Maya Clery craves. From the first touch, their connection is intense. After leaving her troubled past behind, Maya thought she was happy—she is happy—but meeting Dean forces her to acknowledge dark needs she longs to explore yet has never had the courage to face.  

All the Deal News You Can Use

lovecraft countryJordan Peele to produce HBO series Lovecraft Country (based on the book by Matt Ruff) with J.J. Abrams, Misha Green.

The Chaperone, based on Laura Moriarty’s best-selling American novel, will reunite Elizabeth McGovern and Julian Fellowes. 

Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness to be developed as a limited series.

Netflix is developing and producing a new English-language drama series based on the fantasy saga The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski.

Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton fame) is set to star in TNT’s Snowpiercer pilot.

Ian McKellen, Gabriel Byrne and Connie Nielsen are set to star in Hamlet Revenant.

Today in Why Stop at Four: A fifth Game of Thrones spin-off is in the works.

Universal has bought the movie rights to the New York Times column You May Want to Marry My Husband, written by the late author Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

Grace And Frankie actress June Diane Raphael is writing a book to help women run for office.

Cover Reveals

Book Riot got the exclusive cover reveal of Jen Wang’s The Princess and the Dressmaker!

The Mary Sue revealed the shiny new cover of Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh.

And last but not least, the cover of Caleb Roehrig’s new thriller, White Rabbit.

Sneak Peeks!

The Alienist series is coming! I looooove this novel. (It’s hard to believe it has been 23 years since its release. I got the book right before *cough* graduation *cough*.)

alias graceNetflix debuts first images from its new miniseries based on Alias Grace, the Margaret Atwood novel.

 The first trailer for The Glass Castle, starring Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson.

The trailer for The Hippopotamus, based on the novel by Stephen Fry.

The trailer for The Limehouse Golem, based on Peter Ackroyd’s 1994 novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem.

Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning star in How to Talk to Girls at Parties, based on the short story by Neil Gaiman.

Book Riot Recommends

At Book Riot, I work on the New Books! email, the All the Books! podcast about new releases, and the Book Riot Insiders new release index. I am very fortunate to get to read a lot of upcoming titles, and I’m delighted to share a couple with you each week!

the prey of godsThe Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden (June 13, Harper Voyager)

Can a young girl, a politician, a pop diva, and a teen stop the rise of a powerful demigoddess who is set on making her big hellish comeback? You should read this and find out because WOW WOW WOW. If I had to sum this up in two words: banana pants. This fantastic futuristic South African novel has witches, robots, genetic engineering, and mammal/crustacean sex. And that’s just for starters!

the gentleman's guideThe Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (June 27, Katherine Tegen Books)

A bisexual British lord heads out on a wild world journey with his best friend/secret crush in this fun 18th century romp! Monty has reached an age when he is expected to finally settle down and act like a gentleman. But before he does, he takes his BFF Percy on one last adventure around the globe, which quickly turns dangerous – both romantically and to their actual lives! This is fun with a capital “YES.”

And this is funny.

Who is driving the car?

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships May 19

Happy Friday, my fellow fans of skiffy and fanty! Let’s get to it.

The Locus Award finalists, like the Arthur C Clarke shortlist, include Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. This is interesting because the Locus Awards are selected via an open poll to readers, rather than by a panel of judges based on publisher submissions (although there is a “recommended” list provided by editors and reviewers). It had not occurred to me before I saw the Clarke list that anyone would consider it science fiction of the same kind as, say, Death’s End. But perhaps I am in the minority? In the meantime, the First Novel category has much beloveds Ninefox Gambit, Everfair, and Roses and Rot, and I now need to read every other debut nominated as well.

Andy Weir’s next book will be about a heist on the Moon and everyone is really freaking excited about it. Which I get — the words “heist” and “Moon” are an excellent combination.

Some food for serious thought: who gets to be a geek? The essay Dragons Are For White Kids With Money looks at the inclusion issues that continue in geekdom on the fan side, and is well worth the read.

Back to the adaptations corner:
The Left Hand of Darkness is getting an adaptation and I have many concerns, which Margaret articulates very well! How will they cast it? Le Guin has said she used “he/his/him” pronouns at the time of the novel’s publishing because that was the accepted default, but my fear is that Hollywood will take this literally. Le Guin is a consulting producer, so I will be over here crossing my fingers and toes and hoping she doesn’t let them.
– I don’t know if Scalzi’s Collapsing Empire will ever get to the big screen but I want it so badly, thanks to this fancast. (His odds are probably very good, considering this newsletter has to have an adaptations corner!)
– You already know this if you clicked the Andy Weir link above but Artemis has also already been optioned.

Not an adaptation per se: we finally have a trailer for Star Trek: Discovery! And it is gooooooooood. I have been skeptical about this show for a variety of reasons, but I’m taking off my skeptic’s hat and starting to get excited.

Last but most certainly not least, a dinosaur got named after a Ghostbusters character and that is just the best news ever.

And now, let us discuss bioengineering and music magic.

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Borne by Jeff VanderMeerYou’ve likely seen reviews all over the place for Borne, and for good reason. VanderMeer has been working in sci-fi for many years but broke through in a big way with the Southern Reach trilogy (which maybe we’ll talk about another time; you’ve all read them though, right? Right?!). So Borne couldn’t help but be a big deal. For me and I’m sure many others, the question was: could it measure up to Area X? The answer is a resounding yes.

The book follows Rachel, a young woman and former refugee making a life by scavenging in the ruins of a city (in my head, Los Angeles) ruled by a giant bioengineered flying bear named Mord. No, really. And the plot kicks off when she finds a creature of indeterminate origin — is it vegetable? animal? mineral?? — stuck to Mord’s fur, takes it home, and names it Borne, where it proceeds to grow into sentience. No, really! Rachel’s increasingly maternal relationship with Borne creates problems with her partner and lover Wick, while other forces in the city threaten their tenuous existence. Also featured: talking foxes, many skeletons, mutant children, the nefarious Company. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, but I don’t want to spoil the ending for you.

If you’ve read VanderMeer, none of this will particularly surprise you; his imagination is decidedly weird, and his plots don’t always bother to make sense. This is part of their power — I cannot tell you how many text, DM, and in-person exchanges I’ve had debating what actually happened in one of his books. The internal logic is always sound, the characters are compelling and often feel deeply familiar, and his ability to twist and reshape reality is frequently jaw-dropping. And in Borne, it’s his characters — specifically Rachel and Borne — that resonated the most for me. Their relationship, which is also the engine for the plot, shifts all other relationships as well as the very structure of their world, and I would have happily read another hundred pages of it.

If you’re already a fan, you want this on your shelf. If you’ve never read him this is a great entry point (although by no means an “easy” read); Borne will introduce you to the pyrotechnics VanderMeer is capable of, and I guarantee you’ll never look at a bear the same way.


Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-GarciaIf you took The Craft and set it in 1980s Mexico City, you’d have something very like Signal to Noise. Half of you are already on your way to the Buy button; let me convince the rest of you!

Mercedes “Meche” Vega, a teenager in Mexico City in 1988, lives for her vinyl collection and the occasional mixtape. She’s not pretty, she’s not popular, she doesn’t like books, school is a drag, and her parents are always fighting. She’s sullen and judgmental, and I loved her. Then there are her friends Sebastian and Daniela. Sebastian is bookish and awkward; Daniela is a good-hearted pushover who suffers from lupus. They’re brought together more for their social status rather than any shared interests, but they also get each other. And when Meche discovers that she can make strange, magical things happen with the right song, they form a coven and set about making their lives better. Fast forward to 2009, and Meche has returned home to help bury her father. She hasn’t talked to Sebastian or Daniela since 1989, and the book alternates between the book’s past and present as we find out why.

Moreno-Garcia has nailed her characters here. Meche’s thorny edges and flashes of anger, Sebastian’s impatience with his situation, Daniela’s hesitant journey towards confidence, and the ways that they both hurt and heal each other are all perfectly captured. It’s also hard to fault the internal logic of the magic; who hasn’t had a full-body-and-brain experience with the right song at the right time? While they’re very different books on the surface, Signal to Noise reminded me of another favorite, Emma Bull’s War For the Oaks, in terms of my reaction. I needed those songs in my ears, and I needed to know what happens next.

This newsletter is sponsored by The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson.

Noble Servant by Melanie DickersonNew York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson returns with The Noble Servant, a retelling of the fairytale classic, The Goose Girl. In this medieval tale, Lady Magdalen is on her way to join the Duke of Wolfberg in marriage when her maidservant betrays her, takes her identity, and sends her down to the lowliest household position—tending the geese. But while out in the field, Magdalen encounters a mysterious shepherd who reveals that not all is as it seems in the castle, and it is up to them—the lowest of the low—to regain all that is lost.

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty.

An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a proper lady—which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for a suitable marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls—and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust—and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

With secret identities and a tempestuous romance, Erin Beaty’s The Traitor’s Kiss is full of intrigue, espionage, and lies.

The Stack


Today’s The Stack is sponsored by Gallery 13.

The graphic novel adaptation of the classic horror anthology film written by Stephen King, with art by Bernie Wrightson.


Win a Young Adult Book Subscription Box!

We have 10 OwlCrate boxes to give away to 10 Riot readers.

Here’s what OwlCrate is:

OwlCrate is a monthly subscription service that delivers bookish fun straight to your door! Each box will contain one brand new hardcover Young Adult novel, as well as a whole bunch of bookish keepsakes to help set the mood for your literary adventure. Every box is built with a super fun and creative theme in mind, and also includes special goodies right from the author! OwlCrate also has a brand new box for younger bookworms! OwlCrate Jr is perfect for readers aged 8-12, or anyone young at heart. Happy reading!

Go here to enter the giveaway, or just click on the OwlCrate box photo below. Good luck!