The Fright Stuff

2021 Adult Horror Releases by Women

Hey there Horror Fans, I’m Jessica Avery and I’ll be delivering your weekly brief of all that’s ghastly and grim in the world of Horror. Whether you’re looking for a backlist book that will give you the willies, a terrifying new release, or the latest in horror community news, you’ll find it here in The Fright Stuff.

Welcome to the last Fright Stuff of this year’s Women in Horror Month! But remember, just because WiHM is ending, doesn’t mean you have to give the boot to the women in your TBR. 2021 is shaping up to be a truly phenomenal year in horror publishing, and some of the most exciting titles on my pre-order list are by the remarkable women of the horror genre! So, as promised, here is a list of forthcoming adult horror titles by women to help you move your reading list out of February and have the joy of reading horror by women all year long.

Dead Space by Kali Wallace (March 2)

Hey so if we haven’t breached this subject yet in the Fright Stuff, I am obsessed with space horror. I don’t know if it’s the vast vacuum of space, or the fact that said vastness isolates and confines you to the strict boundaries of what is basically a haunted house in space, or the tantalizing possibility of the unknown, but I love space horror more than life. So I am beyond excited for Kali Wallace’s forthcoming novel, Dead Space. Sometimes when your big life plans go awry you end up working a dead-end job in an asteroid belt. Hester Marley is a security officer for a mining company, spending her days on petty crimes, when an old friend resurfaces. They’re both survivors of the terrorist attack that ruined Hester’s life, but before she can learn what her friend claims to have discovered about their shared tragedy, he’s murdered. Leaving Hester to search out both his killer, and his secrets.

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall (June 22nd)

This forthcoming dark fantasy novel sounds like it’s going to be 110% my thing. Shadowy cabals, espionage, power, deceptions, violence? Yum. Elfreda Raughn can handle the day-to-day duties of serving the Sisterhood of Aytrium, no matter how gruesome. But she will do whatever it takes to avoid becoming pregnant and fulfilling her part in preserving the Sisterhood’s magical bloodline. There are different kinds of sacrifices, and in order to avoid the fate she most despises, Elfreda will have to choose a path that leads her into the upper echelons of the Sisterhood, and a lavish world of parties and power struggles. This is definitely going to be one of those reads where I’m up all night because I couldn’t put it down.

The All Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw (June 22)

Oh look. More space horror. I told you how much I love space horror, right? A team of former criminals, disbanded in the wake of a mission-turned-disaster, must rejoin forces if they want to uncover what really happened on their last, fateful last job. And if they want to rescue their missing team member. These women, half-clone and half-machine, must return to Dimmuborgir, the site of their past failure, but they are not the only ones in search of the planet’s secret. In a world where the universe’s AI have evolved into an independent force with their own agency and will, the team must face down not only their own pasts but also a sentient force determined to see that humans never regain control.

I mean she had me at sentient ships, so someone just give her my money and I’ll be over here waiting for June.

Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn (September 7)

I admit that I haven’t been able to find much information yet about Flowers from the Sea for all that, according to the publisher’s site, it is due out in September. But that just makes me more curious! I’m willing to wait because this novella sounds fantastic. Survivors of a flooded land exist in isolation, fighting for their continued survival on an ark. Supplies are dwindling, hungry, terrifying sea monsters circle – in other words, circumstances are NOT ideal. Among the survivors is Iraxi, pregnant with a child that may not be entirely human. The future of the ark and its survivors is uncertain, and Iraxi’s own fate may be darker still.

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Catilin Starling (October 19)

You might remember me shouting enthusiastically about the cover of this book earlier this month, and it’s definitely not just the cover that I’m excited about. This promises to be the very height of Gothic horror goodness and I’m so excited. Jane Shoringfield has a carefully calculated plan: husband, marriage of convenience, the ability to remain independent and pursue meaningful work. She sets her mind on Doctor Augustine Lawrence, and the reclusive physician agrees with one (suitably ominous) condition. His family are the Lawrences of Lindridge hall, a (suitably crumbling heap of a) manor outside of the town, and Jane must never, never go there. But, as these things tend to happen in any good Gothic novel, fateful weather sees Jane stranded at the door of Lindridge Hall on her wedding night, and the haunted, paranoid man within bears little resemblance to the man she thought she married.

Please, universe, just put this in my eyeballs. October is so far away.

Fresh from the Skeleton’s Mouth

Need more books to fill out your 2021 TBR? Don’t forget to bookmark Nightfire’s excellent list of all the horror they’re excited about in 2021!

Here’s your reminder that the Horror Writers Association’s second Females of Fright panel has been scheduled for next Friday, February 26th and will feature authors V. Castro, Larissa Glasser, Alma Katsu, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Cynthia Pelayo, Sarah Read, and Danielle Trussoni!

Looking ahead to the rest of your reading year? The Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Booklist, have announced their 2021 Summer Scares reading list so get those TBR’s prepped!

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.

Book Radar

Daniel José Older’s New YA Novel To Be Published by Rick Riordan and More Book Radar!

Happy Monday, star bits! I hope you all were able to enjoy your weekend. I had a lot of assigned reading for my jobs, so I spent the weekend up to my face orbs in words, which is just how I like it. And you’ll be hearing about some of the books that I read in the future here in this newsletter! (IT’S ALL FOR YOU, DAMIAN.) Any excuse to read books is a good excuse, but it’s even better when I get to share. And speaking of sharing, I watched an interview with Emily St. John Mandel last week and all she would say about her next novel, which she has almost finished, is that there is a time-traveling book publicist. Which is not a thing I knew I wanted until just now. I can’t wait!

Moving on: I have some exciting book news for you today and a look at an exciting dystopian novella that takes place in a submarine, plus cover reveals, a terrible pun, a cat picture, and trivia! Let’s get started, shall we?

Here’s Monday’s trivia question: Who wrote the 1959 novel To Sir, With Love, which later became a film starring Sidney Poitier? (Scroll to the bottom for the answer.)

Deals, Reals, and Squeals!

Jesse Plemons has joined the cast of Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of David Grann’s Killer of the Flower Moon.

Hafsah Faizal’s We Hunt The Flame is being adapted into a television series.

Daisy Ridley will star in the adaptation of The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne.

Rick Riordan’s imprint will publish its first YA novel, which will be written by Daniel José Older.

Here’s the cover reveal for Redemptor, the second Raybearer book, by Jordan Ifueko.

Here’s the book trailer for TJ Newman’s forthcoming book, Falling, which has already been bought by Universal.

Here’s the cover reveal for The Perishing by Natashia Deon.

Here’s the first look at the cover of Sarah MacLean’s new romance novel Bombshell.

Tim Burton is making a live-action Wednesday Addams series for Netflix.

Here’s the first look at the LGBTQ+ graphic novel Eighty Days by A.C. Esguerra.

Mindy Kaling’s Kaling International is adapting Sanjena Sathian’s Gold Diggers for TV.

Paddington 3 is officially in the works.

Here’s a huge round-up of Epic Reads fall book release cover reveals.

Brit Bennett is on the cover of Time magazine as one of their Next 100 Most Influential People.

Here’s the cover reveal for Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez.

Norman Reedus is developing Edward Gorey’s Neglected Murderesses as a series for AMC.

Here’s the cover reveal of A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw.

Netflix is creating an animated musical film based on Lupita Nyong’o’s Sulwe.

Victor LaValle is writing a brand new five-issue original comic series, which will be illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong.

Daniel Cole’s Ragdoll is going to be made into a series.

William Corlett’s Now & Then is being made into a film.

Lily Rabe will join Ben Affleck in George Clooney’s Tender Bar, based on the memoir by J.R. Moehringer.

Here’s the cover reveal for Cherie Priest’s Grave Reservations.

HBO is adaptating Roger Zelazny’s Roadmarks.

Here’s the cover reveal for The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker.

Anna Friel will star in the adaptation of Karen Hamilton’s The Perfect Girlfriend.

Here’s the cover reveal for Shoot the Moonlight Out by William Boyle.

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 learn about a lot of upcoming titles, and I’m delighted to share a couple with you each week so you can add them to your TBR! (It will now be books I loved on Mondays and books I’m excited to read on Thursdays. YAY, BOOKS!)

Loved, loved, loved: 

We Shall Sing a Song into the Deep by Andrew Kelly Stewart (, March 9)

The beginning of the first sentence of the pitch for this was “A Canticle for Leibowitz meets The Hunt for Red October…” and I was like “I’M IN.” A Canticle for Leibowitz is my favorite sci-fi book, and I don’t hear it mentioned that often, so of course I had to read this.

Here’s the three-word elevator pitch: monks in submarines. That’s the whole premise and I loved it. So it’s the future and there’s been a horrible nuclear war that has decimated the planet. People have taken to boats to avoid the poisoned lands, and an order of monks spend their days and nights aboard a submarine that has been outfitted with the last nuclear bomb. They have been on the submarine for years; its electrical wiring is a mess, the other mechanical parts are faulty, and all the monks are suffering from scurvy and radiation poisoning and other ailments.

When the book starts, we meet Remy, a Chorister, who is one of the young boys charged with singing in church aboard the submarine. Except only the dying caplain (like captain and chaplain, get it?) of the boat knows that Remy is actually a girl. He rescued her from a vessel years ago, and had to keep her secret because no girls or women are permitted aboard. And she is also the only one he trusts to hide the key that unlocks the nuclear bomb.

But then the caplain dies, and his power-mad replacement is hellbent on releasing the last bomb and ending everything, and even resorts to using Remy’s best friend as a pawn to try and get what he wants. Can Remy save her only friend and keep the key out the hands of the new caplain?

I thought this was perfectly paced and it seemed entirely plausible. Although submarines stress me out—it also made me feel claustrophobic!

(Content warning for murder, physical violence, drowning, a nuclear apocalypse, radiation poisoning, child abuse, and starvation.)

What I’m reading this week.

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

Lightseekers by Femi Kayode

Redemptor (Raybearer Book 2) by Jordan Ifueko

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Ten Low by Stark Holborn

Groan-worthy joke of the week: 

I could tell a joke about pizza, but it’s a little cheesy.

And this is funny:

Great, another thing I’m going to be wondering about instead of sleeping.

Happy things:

Here are a few things I enjoy that I thought you might like as well:

  • The Great North: From the creator of Bob’s Burgers; it’s kind of like a Bob’s Burgers but set in Alaska, complete with the youngest child wearing an animal costume at all times. But it’s cute and I’ll keep watching. Bonus: Nick Offerman does one of the voices.
  • Warehouse 13: All five seasons are streaming on Peacock! Of course, rewatching this is going to lead to a rewatch of The Librarians, for sure.
  • Gravity Falls: It’s never enough, no, it’s never enough. Also: GRAPPLING HOOK.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Okay, so this is in no way a happy thing, but it’s just what I need playing in the background while I do jigsaw puzzles. I have now made it to the middle of season five and I am still into it. After watching so much Murder She Wrote recently, I’m enjoying the crimes coming to them, not just happening everywhere they go.
  • Jigsaw puzzles! Yup, still puzzling.
  • Numberzilla. Still not tired of this game.
  • Purrli: This website makes the relaxing sounds of a cat purring.

And here’s a cat picture!

I should livestream cat wrestling from my house and make a million dollars. Spoiler: Zevon always wins. He always starts it and he always wins.

Trivia answer: E. R. Braithwaite.

Remember that whatever you are doing or watching or reading this week, I am sending you love and hugs. Please be safe, and be mindful of others. It takes no effort to be kind. I’ll see you again on Thursday. – xoxo, Liberty

What's Up in YA

Your YA Ebook Deals This Weekend

Hey YA Readers!

Snuggle into your coziest and warmest blanket and slippers. There are a boatload of great YA ebook deals this weekend to help keep you warm.

As always, deals are active as of Friday, February 19. If you see something that catches your attention, act quick, as the deals sometimes disappear fast.

Start off with the first in Adam Silvera’s on-going fantasy series, Infinity Son, for $3.

If you love fairy tales, you’ll want to pick up Elizabeth Lim’s So This Is Love, based on Cinderella, for $1.

Need an adventure? Seafire by Natalie C. Parker, first in a just-completed trilogy, is $2. Bonus: the second book is also on sale for $2, so pick up Steel Tide, too.

Junauda Petrus’s absolutely stunning The Stars and the Blackness Between Them, celebrating Black queer love and so much more, is $3.

Readers looking for a great fantasy epic will do well with Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. $3.

The award-winning verse novel Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh is $3.

I’ve had Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love on my ereader for far too long. This read starring an asexual lead is on sale for $3.

Kristina Forest’s fabulous rom com Now That I’ve Found You is on sale for $3.

Want even more rom com fun? I Believe In a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo is $3.

Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao, which features the fake dating trope, is currently $2 — I really enjoyed this one.

Stories with disabled people front and center being heroes/heroines/superheroes are deeply lacking. If you haven’t, you’ll want to check out the awesome anthology Unbroken, edited by Marieke Nijkamp. $3.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed, a story set in 1992 Los Angeles during the Rodney King protests, is currently $2.

The first four books in Sarah J. Maas’s “A Court of Thorns and Roses” are $3 each: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Wings and Ruin, and A Court of Frost and Starlight.

Scratch your horror itch with Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé. $2.

Readers looking for fast paced fantasy adventure will do so well with Scott Reintgen’s Ashlords, first in a series. Grab it for $2.

On the non-fiction front, Winifred Conkling’s Votes for Women, about the struggle for women’s suffrage in the US — which does a good job of highlighting how this lacked intersectionality — is on sale for $2.

The Young Reader’s Edition of When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors is $3.

George M. Johnson’s powerful YA memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue is $3.

Akilah Hughes’s essay collection Obviously: Stories From My Timeline is $3.

Happy reading! We’ll see you again on Monday.

— Kelly Jensen, Kelly Jensen, @heykellyjensen on Instagram and editor of Body Talk(Don’t) Call Me Crazy, and Here We Are.

Big thanks again to Wander, publisher of A Gentle Tyranny by Jess Corban for making the newsletter possible.



Riot Rundown


Our Queerest Shelves

Welcome to Our Queerest Shelves!

I am over the moon to be writing you this newsletter! I am always looking for new ways to be able to talk about queer books, so I’m excited to be in your inbox every week talking about the latest queer book news and new releases!

I’ve been writing about queer books on the internet for more than 10 years now, and so much has changed! I used to be able to keep track of almost every queer book being published by a mainstream publisher. I would be able to read every sapphic YA title as it came out. Luckily, that’s no longer possible: there are so many queer books in every genre being published! I truly believe we are in the golden age of queer YA, especially.

Of course, the fight is far from over. While gay and lesbian books are getting more common, and even trans and bisexual books are getting a little more attention, there are still a lot of identities that have almost no representation, such as demisexual or genderfluid folks. It becomes even more distressing when you add any kind of intersectionality: queer books continue to be very white, and it’s difficult to find books with both queer and disability representation. If you’re looking for a particular genre, it can also narrow your options to almost non-existent.

I’m confident that we’re at least moving in the right direction, though! My priority is to shine a spotlight on the queer lit we do have! The more sales and attention they get, the more room is made for other LGBTQ book deals.

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Love Is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann (Queer F/F YA)

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth (Queer YA Fantasy)

The Shadow War by Lindsay Smith (Queer YA Fantasy/Alternate History)

The Upstairs House by Julia Fine (Sapphic Fiction)

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian (Bi F/F Romance) 

Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish (M/M Romance)

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (F/F Romance)

Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters by Aimee Ogden (Queer Science Fiction Novella)

Mouths of Rain : An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought edited by Briona Simone Jones (Lesbian Nonfiction)

I’m a Wild Seed by Sharon Lee De La Cruz (Queer Graphic Memoir)

Until next time, you can find me on Twitter @lesbrary and tumblr (yes, tumblr) @biandlesbianliterature. You can also hear me on All the Books on the first Tuesday of the month, and I post weekly New Releases videos on the Book Riot Youtube channel. You can bet I sneak in as many queer titles as I can!

Today In Books

Author Brit Bennett Makes The Cover of Time 100 Next: Today in Books

Author Brit Bennett Makes The Cover of Time 100 Next

Time has announced their 2021 Time100 Next List, highlighting 100 of the most influential people who are currently shaping the future. Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half and The Mothers, is among the influential politicians, activists, philanthropists, medical heroes, artists, and others honored this year in the issue. You can check out Brit Bennett’s Time cover and Tayari Jones’ words about the author on the Time website.

Mindy Kaling Adapting Sanjena Sathian’s Novel Gold Diggers

Sanjena Sathian’s novel Gold Diggers is being adapted for television. Mindy Kaling is set to executive produce the project through her production company Kaling International. Sathian will co-write the adaptation. Production is currently looking for potential showrunners and co-writers.

We Need Diverse Books Launches Black Creatives Fund

As part of an initiative to bring more diverse voices to the publishing industry, We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) has launched the Black Creatives Fund. In partnership with Penguin Random House, the Black Creatives Fund will support a series of programs designed to get more Black voices published.

Annotation: How to Get the Most Out of Your Books

Looking to step up your reading game? Annotating might be the answer. Find out more about how annotations can help you get the most out of your book.

Unusual Suspects

3 of the Best New Hard-Hitting YA Thrillers

Hi mystery fans! I have some news and links, giveaways, a bananapants Netflix adaptation, my recent reading, and a bunch of great Kindle deals.

From Book Riot And Around The Internet

Katie and Nusrah talk about reads that feature true crime and social justice honoring Black History Month.

3 of the Best New Hard-Hitting YA Thrillers for Your TBR

The Casual Classism of Agatha Christie

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Adds Lily Gladstone to Cast

HBO Max has put in development The Players Table, a TV series based on Jessica Goodman’s bestselling debut novel They Wish They Were Us

Deanna Raybourne is one of my favorite authors and this Twitter thread is a delight: “There are eleventy thousand projects about Agatha Christie’s missing days so now can I get a film about how at 40 she took up with a 26-year-old archaeologist, swam with him in her pink undies, and married him?

‘The Echo Wife’ Layers Sci-Fi And Murder Mystery For A Twisty Treat

Tim Burton is bringing Wednesday Addams to Netflix in a live-action coming-of-age series!

Comedian Sums Up How Every Film Noir Movie Ends

Peacock Orders John Wayne Gacy True Crime Docuseries

Win a Mystery Audiobook Prize Pack!

Win a Year of e-Reading!

Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway: February 2021

Enter to Win a $100 Indigo Gift Card – February 2021

Watch Now

Netflix: Sarah Pinborough’s bonkers (!) Behind Her Eyes published in 2017 and it is now a limited series on Netflix. The book for me had a similar opening to Grey’s Anatomy where I was HOOKED–imagine having a bar hookup then not only finding out he’s your new boss but also that his wife has just befriended you. Awkward. Anyways, I am honestly all-in for this series because I want to see if they kept the bananapants element from the book and if so HOW they are pulling it off? If you’ve read it you’re probably nodding your head. Here’s the trailer!

Bit Of My Week In Reading

The Turnout By Megan Abbott

Did I drop everything to read Megan Abbott’s upcoming suspense novel? Yes, of course! The thing I love–there are many but here’s one–about Abbott’s books is that she envelopes readers in feelings. While many mysteries start with a crime, Abbott just starts by plunging you into the lives of characters and slowly this feeling of dread sets in because you don’t know what but you know something is certainly coming, and it’s never good.

It’s always fascinating to watch. There’s also usually an “extreme” element as the backdrop–this time dance. A ballet studio, to be exact, left to two sisters when their parents died in a car accident. They teach and live together with one of their husbands. Until one sister moves out of the house and into the dance studio. There’s a fire. A contractor. And suddenly things are unraveling… If I close my eyes and tell you the feelings: breathless, chaotic, loneliness, restless, reckless, pressure cooker, intensity, desire, regret, passion, obsession, visceral, longing… Abbott manages to make her characters’ lives so vivid and real I can smell and taste their world, all while making me uncomfortable and unable to stop turning the page. It’s a train wreck I always know is coming and can never look away from (don’t want to!) that always ends up living with me afterwards as she explores how we get to these wrecks and how we can continue after. She has an extensive backlist and here is me raving about them all. (TW disordered eating and eating disorders/ past alcoholism/ sexual abuse of teen/ suicide scene, detail/ past domestic abuse)

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

I got my hands on an early copy of this upcoming cozy mystery and it’s my weekend read. Look at that cover! I am already salivating, so must prepare proper snacks for reading.

And my current audiobooks which I’m really enjoying! Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen, which is all about when you’ve had the same limited social group of friends and find yourself branching out. And Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong, which is one of my favorite thriller series with an interesting setting: in a remote place where victims and predators have all been given a new chance in this community. If you need thrills, it’s an awesome series.

Kindle Deals

The Other Americans cover image

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

This is a character driven crime novel that follows the fallout from a hit-and-run as the family grieves and an investigator looks into the crime. It’s fantastic and $1.99! (Review)

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite cover image

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This is a great breaks-the-mold thriller that is smart and deliciously wicked about a woman who is tired of cleaning up her sister’s messes (literally) and may get pushed too far when her sister sets eyes on her crush. It’s $1.99! (TW child and domestic abuse/ rape–I want to say past briefly recounted)

A Death of No Importance cover image

A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks

A great read for historical fiction fans with a murder mystery that unravels amongst the upper class while the city deals with anarchists and terrible working conditions for the lower class. It’s $2.99! (Review)

Two Girls Down cover image

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

If you’re looking to start a new PI series, here’s one of my recent favorite pairings (a bounty hunter and PI) which is $4.99! (Review)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

True Story

Florida Reads

There’re so many books about Florida. America has 50 states and yet invariably, our attention gets drawn down to its southeasternmost point and we squint into the Floridian sun at our tanned, alligator-adjacent neighbors. Let’s check out some nonfiction about the 27th state.

Disposable City: Miami’s Future on the Shores of Climate Catastrophe by Mario Alejandro Ariza

Miami resident Ariza shows “not only what climate change looks like on the ground today, but also what Miami will look like 100 years from now, and how that future has been shaped by the city’s racist past and present.” It’s a view of Miami you don’t often see, one that talks about rising costs and sea levels. Not to be all about the cover, but I am all about this cover.

The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean

A modern nonfiction classic! Orlean goes way, way into the orchid world, focusing on not only the flower, but the people who love it. She wades into the Fakahatchee Strand to see rare orchids, visits orchid enthusiasts, and spends a lot of time with John Laroche, a man arrested for poaching rare orchids. I have literally never looked at orchids the same way after reading this book.

Slavery in Florida: Territorial Days to Emancipation by Larry Eugene Rivers

The depictions of the enslavement of people in American history tend to center around states like Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, etc. But slavery existed in Florida from the time of Spanish occupation. Rivers also tells “of the hundreds of armed free blacks and runaways among the Seminole, Creek, and Mikasuki Indians on the peninsula.” Bonus points to this for being a university press book.

The Everglades: River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas

This is a classic of environmental literature. If you’ve seen the Drunk History about Marjory Stoneman Douglas, then you know about Douglas’s dedication to saving the Everglades. In 1947, she published this book, which drew attention to the Everglades as a stunning ecosystem worth preserving from the onslaught of housing and land redevelopment.

For more nonfiction new releases, check out the For Real podcast which I co-host with the excellent Kim here at Book Riot. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.

Read This Book

Red This Book: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!

Today I have a pick that was recommended to me by multiple readers when I was still working in the library, and I am so glad they all ganged up on me until I read it!

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

I read Unwind back when I was a teen (it was the first dystopian YA I remember reading and I was enthralled), but hadn’t picked up a new Shusterman book until no fewer than five different teens at my library insisted I read this, and it blew me away. It’s set a couple hundred years into the future, where death has been defeated. Modern technology has not only found a solution to aging (anyone at any time can “reset” themselves to age 25), but they can reliably bring back anyone from death, provided your body and brain aren’t completely destroyed. To compensate for the fact that death no longer controls the population, the Scythedom is founded. Scythes are humans who are revered and feared because they choose people at random to die a humane death. Rowan and Citra are two teens who have just been chosen as Scythe apprentices, but only one of them can ascend to the role of a Scythe. What they don’t know is that they’re about to be sucked into an epic struggle within Scythedom that will change their world forever.

I love a great premise, and not only is Shusterman’s world convincing and fascinating, but the plot he’s come up with for his two teen protagonists is riveting. As teenagers who have never had to comprehend their own mortality, their training mainly consists of lots of philosophy lessons (Scythes take a professional name and always choose from the great thinkers of history), and understanding what it means to be an empathetic human being, which provides plenty of moments for insight, but in a really engaging way. Of course, not all Scythes are noble, as readers see this “perfect” solution becomes inevitably twisted by corrupt Scythes who are grabbing power, unchecked, at an alarming rate. Rowan and Citra start out as competitors, but as forces beyond their control attempt to use them and pit them against their mentor, they find ways to team up and rebel against the system. The writing is smart and darkly funny–the perfect tone for a book about death, honestly–and the plot had some truly amazing twists that kept me hooked. This is a high concept book that will make you think, but in a fun way, I promise.

And I might as well advise you to just pick up the sequels, Thunderhead and The Toll. You’ll want them!

Happy reading!

Find me on Book Riot, the Insiders Read Harder podcast, All the Books, and Twitter.

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