Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Feb 9

Happy Friday, necromancers and Neolutionists! Today’s installment includes reviews of The Other Lands and River of Teeth, a Hugo Awards spreadsheet, South Asian speculative fiction, and more.

This newsletter is sponsored by Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their soul from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised: the Dead must remain shrouded. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, a grotesque transformation begins, turning the Dead into terrifying, bloodthirsty Shades. Odessa is forced to contemplate a terrifying question: What if her magic is the weapon that brings the kingdom to its knees?

Reign of the Fallen is a gutsy, unpredictable read with a surprising and breathtaking LGBT romance at its core.

Prepare your ears: The Audie Award finalists have been announced, and the SFF contenders include my personal favorites The Stone Sky and Provenance.

Calling all voters: The 2018 Hugo Awards are open for nomination by Worldcon members. If you’re a voting member OR if you just want to see what’s eligible, there’s an epic collabroative spreadsheet to track titles.

Get regional: This beautifully thorough first installment of the history of South Asian speculative fiction goes back to the 1800s, and considers both how to define the genre and its benchmark books.

Immortality for all: Netflix’s new adaptation Altered Carbon is playing with consciousness transfer, and so are actual scientists.

Dueling in a dress: This thread on the logistics of swordfighting in a ballgown made my … week? Possibly my month.

Need some spacey gifts, for yourself or another? Here are some excellent options (that Hitchhiker’s bag!).

Already read all of Le Guin’s work? Never fear: Danika rounded up 75+ books that Le Guin herself recommended over the course of her career.

In this week’s reviews, we’ve got an incredible Book 2 and some very angry (also hungry) hippos.

The Other Lands (Acacia #2) by David Anthony Durham

The Other Lands by David Anthony DurhamI wouldn’t normally review a Book 2 — either I’d do the first one, or wait til I’d read the entire series. But I just finished The Other Lands, and it’s in the top 10 second-in-trilogy books I’ve read, so you’re gonna hear about it.

The Acacia series is my go-to read-alike, alongside Kameron Hurley’s Worldbreaker Saga, for fans of Game of Thrones who are desperate for something to read in the long dry years of ASoIaF. The War With The Mein (Acacia #1) introduces us to the main players: the Akarans, a dynasty headed by the addicted widower king Leodan; the Mein, a violent tribe out to take over control of the empire and resurrect their dead ancestors; the League, who control trade and have a vested interest keeping up the status quo. When Leodan is assassinated, his four children are flung out into the world under the (occasionally dubious) protection of separate guardians. Through Leodan’s children, we get a varied and truly global view of the world Durham has created. The children grow up in very different circumstances and when they’re put back in touch years later, in a plot to overthrow the Mein, they must reinvent their relationships as well as take back their kingdom.

While there’s plenty of action in The War with the Mein, it’s also a deeply introductory book, and it ends on a fairly satisfying note. So it took me a bit of time to get to The Other Lands; I am here to tell you that you should get to it ASAP. After a helpful recap of the first book, it plunges into an intricate, complicated plot that had me almost missing my train stops. Here is a fantasy series that complicates Good and Bad, that includes swords and sorcery as well as diverse populations, that gives you many sides of the same story and lets you decide who to root for. And the ending? Pure cliffhanger. Happily, The Sacred Band (Acacia #3) is out and waiting for me at the library.

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

River of Teeth by Sarah GaileyThis novella packs a bigger punch than you might expect, and its premise is a delight. In Gailey’s alternate 1890s America, the US government has imported hippos for ranching. Which sounds great in theory, until they start to escape, turn feral, and murderously infest Louisiana. Enter Winslow Houndstooth, former hippo rancher and mercenary for hire. Houndstooth receives a contract to rid the bayou of its giant violent pests, and puts together a crew to get the job done. The crew includes, for reasons only Houndstooth knows at the beginning, the expert thief Regina “Archie” Archambault, knife expert Adelia Reyes, demolitions expert Hero, and requisite patsy Cal.

Of course, nothing goes to plan. Revenge, love, and bribery all complicate the situation. People get eaten by hippos, stabbed, blown up, you name it. This is a gloriously fun, inclusive, queer, “Weird West” frontier romp — and it’s just the first in the series.

And that’s a wrap! You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

Live long and prosper,

Kissing Books

Love Notes and Black History

Well, it’s still February. It’s time for all the think pieces about romance and the Day Of Love. Let’s skip those this year, shall we? (Except this one. This one is great.)


The finalists have been announced for the Audies. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to an audiobook, but I’ve read some of the books in prose and can see how they would fare well in audio. Have you listened to any of them?

Sponsored by Kensington Publishing Corp

Award-winning author Michele Sinclair returns to the Scottish Highlands, the land of her fan favorite McTierney Clan full of fierce warriors and vibrant women. As the most sought-after bachelor in Scotland, the seventh McTiernay brother claims he cannot be caught and taken to the alter, not by seduction or love—until a roving Highland beauty lays siege to his heart.

Are you going to BookCon? It looks like they’re working to attract the romance crowd more, so that’ll be fun!

The first few novels in DARE, Harlequin’s newest imprint, have been released. Off Limits, one of the set, is free all month. Interested in submitting your own? You can do that!

The Governess Game! Look!

Also, this is super cool.

The New York Times has a romance column now. It’s neither brief nor worthy of disdain, so I’m interested to see how it continues. We’ll see. What was it that Trisha said? Bemusedly wary?


Alice Clayton’s Wallbanger is 1.99!

For the Sake of Love by Anamika Mishra is also 1.99!

Looking for a bad boy prince? Royally Bad by Nora Flite is 1.99. The second book, Royally Ruined, is too.

Love Will Always Remember by Tracey Livesay rounds out the plethora of 1.99 gifts this week.

Over on Book Riot

Do you watch The Good Place? If not, get on that. I’ll wait. Okay, now you can read this.

#riotgrams is back!

Deb Harkness has a new Clermont book coming out! Are we excited? (I…should probably finish the All Souls Trilogy, huh?)


So there are two important things happening right now: Black History Month and the Olympics! The best way to celebrate is with books, of course.

Beverly Jenkins

A great moment in black history that Beverly Jenkins does fantastically is the Reconstruction. The final installment of her Old West trilogy, Tempest takes us into the wilds of Wyoming, where Regan has agreed to be a mail-order bride to Dr. Colton Lee. Things go a little awry when crack shot Regan shoots her intended in the midst of a potential Stagecoach holdup. They start to get along, however, after some bedroom negotiations, and along with his young daughter, start to become a family. While Colton’s initial change of heart regarding Regan takes the reader by surprise, it isn’t completely unbelievable, and helps to develop quite the rapport between the little family and those around them. Showing us a world in which black people are not usually represented, but have been well-recorded, Beverly Jenkins also introduces us to some important figures and events in that time period, including Dr. Alexander T. Augusta (which Ms. Bev herself writes about in this article), one of the first black men commissioned into the Union Army and the first black member of the medical faculty at Howard University.

Looking for more love stories featuring prominent figures in black history?

The Preacher’s Promise by Piper Huguley

In the Morning Sun by Lena Hart

Through the Storm by Beverly Jenkins

Vivid by Beverly Jenkins

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole

Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole

Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole

Okay, so I’m predictable. I’m so sorry. But these are all fantastic.

Also, check out this Race and Romance resource guide from Love Between the Covers.

Medal Up
Nicole Flockton and Fiona Marsden

I’m going to start with this: I love figure skating, and I adore love stories that are somehow connected to figure skating. The Cutting Edge is a regular watch, and Yuri!!! On Ice is definitely the first anime I have ever managed to complete…over the course of an afternoon. Kiss and Cry is one of the Pride and Prejudice fics from the aughts (ots? zeros?) that I can pretty much remember in its entirety (there’s this part late in the story where she looks down and is like “wait, are we waltzing? On ice?”). So you’d think I’d have a whole repertoire of skating romances, right? Apparently not! These two are my first, and it’s a travesty. But they were totally fun!

The two stories in this duology are happening right now. Okay, not really, but if the couples and their friends existed, they’d be enjoying Pyeongchang this very moment.

The first novella, Fighting Their Attraction, follows Australian snowboarder Brady and Arielle, a Canadian figure skater, as they find love in the Olympic Village. (Side note: About five percent in, when I realized the hero was Australian, I had the happy experience of hearing Chris Hemsworth in my head when I read his POV. It made an adorable book even more delightful. It didn’t hurt that I had watched the Dundee trailer a couple times in as many days, just cause.) Brady has a bunch of baggage, including guilt over messing up Olympic dreams before, and just wants to get through and win Gold. Arielle’s baggage comes in the form of her coach/Mom, and the two of them are quite the pair. There’s less of a Big Misunderstanding and more of a Big Miscommunication before they can find their happy ending.

The second novella, Man of Ice, takes up the story of Maybelle Li and her pairs partner Bohdan Dovzhenko. Maybelle and Brady from Fighting Their Attraction were once pairs partners themselves, and can maybe rekindle the friendship that was broken years ago. Belle’s new partner is fantastic to work with on the ice, but a bit cold himself (thus the whole Man of Ice thing). Bohdan isn’t deliberately hateful, but he doesn’t really know how to open up to his partner; being friends is completely out of his comprehension. But when their dynamic changes suddenly one night, all bets are off.

Next up on my list is Tamsen Parker’s Snow and Ice Games. I’m gonna make it through everything Olympic by the times the Games are done.

(I know. Yeah, right.)

New and Upcoming Releases

Lovestruck by Nana Malone

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker

Awaken Me by Farrah Rochon

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin and Jenn St-Onge (February 14)

That’s good for now, huh? By the time we meet again, Valentine’s Day will have passed (and we’ll have had a nice chat on Insiders, if you hang out over there). Have a chocolate filled day, and catch me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or send me an email at if you’ve got feedback or just want to say hi!

Today In Books

And the Oprah Book Club Pick Is: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Hey Harry, Hey Matilda by Rachel Hulin new in paperback from Anchor Books.

And The Oprah Book Club Pick Is…

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Oprah announced her latest book club pick on CBS This Morning. Speaking on why she chose this particular book, Winfrey said, “It’s a love story that also has a huge layer of suspense.” She added that Jones’s novel is current and “now,” that she couldn’t put the book down and has already passed it on to many of her friends. She believes the story will resonate with many. Jones, who expressed excitement about receiving the call, discussed the surprising inspiration behind her book (a couple she overheard while at the mall) during her CBS This Morning interview.

YouTube Star Kian Lawley Fired From The Hate U Give Movie

Twentieth Century Fox fired cast member Kian Lawley from the upcoming film adaption of Angie Thomas’s YA novel The Hate U Give. The studio made the decision in response to a video that resurfaced showing Lawley, a YouTube celebrity, using racial slurs. Lawley was cast as the boyfriend of the film’s star, Amandla Stenberg, in a movie that centers on race and police brutality. Fox plans to recast the role and reshoot scenes as needed.

Scribd Returns To Unlimited Access

Scribd is returning to its original terms, which gave subscribers unlimited access to titles. Scribd abandoned its unlimited access model in 2016, but the company’s co-founder and CEO Trip Adler said current profitability and stability has made the original business model possible once more. That said, the company can detect whether “over-consumption” is occurring, and new controls will limit power readers’ access to the most expensive and popular titles.

Unusual Suspects

Natalie Wood’s 1981 Drowning Is Now Considered A Suspicious Death

Hi fellow mystery fans! I hope you’re drowning in holiday candy and books–solving mysteries to your hearts content. Here’s to another month packed with great reads!

Sponsored by Walking The Bones by Randall Silvis

The bones of seven young girls, picked clean and carefully preserved… that’s all Sergeant Ryan DeMarco knows about the unsolved crime he has unwittingly been roped into investigating during what is supposed to be a healing road trip with his new love, Jayme.

DeMarco is still reeling from the case that led to death of his best friend months ago and wants nothing more than to lay low. Unfortunately, the small southern town of Jayme’s idyllic youth is not exactly a place that lets strangers go unnoticed—especially strangers who have a history of solving violent crimes. And if there’s anything DeMarco knows, it’s that a killer always leaves clues behind just waiting for the right person to come along and put all the pieces together.

For Fans of Get Out! (Trigger Warning: rape/ suicide)

Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith, Andre Blake (Narrator): I honestly want to tell you nothing about this book so that you get hit by every level of this story like I did! I’ll say it’s a social thriller that very smartly places the reader in super uncomfortable territory as a black lawyer jumps at the opportunity to go on a trip with influential and wealthy black men. A secret society if you will… I enjoyed the narrator, Andrew Blake, on the audiobook and spent two days with headphones on ignoring everyone–and internally freaking out.

The Sequel to The Dry is Finally Here!! (Trigger Warning: eating disorder)

Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2) by Jane Harper: Harper yet again delivers a very satisfying mystery from beginning to end, perfect to curl up with. This time around, Federal Police Agent Falk has left the desperately dry small town elements from the first in the series to find himself in the Giralang Ranges along with partner Carmen Cooper. They’ve been called because Alice Russell has gone missing in the forest while on a work retreat. Alice who was helping with a corruption case and is now missing on land a serial killer once lived on… A great story that gives you the detailed present investigation along with flashbacks of the time leading up to the disappearance. If you’re wondering if you want the audiobook, Stephen Shanahan does an excellent narration with his calm, deep, Australian accented voice–so yes! (AND if you need a refresher on what happened in The Dry, here’s a Previously On post.)


Rincey and Katie discuss Edgar Awards nominees and books by black authors on Read or Dead!

Quiz: What Thriller Protagonist Are You?

Over on Wired:  7 True Crime Docs You Should Stream Right Now

Dennis Lehan’s Gone, Baby, Gone will get a second adaptation (the 1st being the 2017 film directed by Ben Affleck) as a television series.

The drowning death of Natalie Wood in 1981 is now considered a “suspicious death” after the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened the investigation. And Robert Wagner, her husband at the time, is a person of interest in the case.

The new thriller Need to Know by Karen Cleveland is being adapted and Charlize Theron is attached as producer and star. You can read the opening excerpt on EW.

Psychological Suspense (Trigger Warning: suicide/ molestation)

Girl Unknown cover image: a dark photograph of a young woman under waterGirl Unknown by Karen Perry: Told in alternating chapters from David and Caroline’s perspective, we watch as a family reacts to a stranger being dropped into the mix when Zoey, a college student, tells David she’s his daughter from a long ago relationship. David brings her into the family (she is his daughter after all) but Caroline is hesitant–she has questions. The kids are split: one begins to bond with his new sister while the other wants her gone. This is a page-turner that slowly builds suspense one brick at a time, but will the wall be the strength of a new family or is it all going to come crashing down?

Recent Releases:

The Unforgotten by Laura Powell (Currently reading: 1950s historical mystery.)

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama, Jonathan Lloyd-Davies (Paperback) (review)

Resurrection Bay (Caleb Zelic #1) by Emma Viskic (Currently reading: so far a must-solve-mystery-while-being-a-suspect.)

The Storm King by Brendan Duffy (Past and present small town mystery. Jon Lindstrom does a good audiobook narration.) (Trigger Warnings: child abuse/ revenge porn/ sexual assault)

A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America by T. Christian Miller, Ken Armstrong (on my TBR and Rioter Liberty marked it as a book she loved in New Books newsletter.)

Kindle Deals:

A Negro and an Ofay by Danny Gardner is $2.99 (For fans of Walter Mosley and Attica Locke when it comes to dissecting racism.) (review)

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio is $3.99 (Especially for fans of Shakespeare.) (review)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. And if you like to put a pin in things here’s an Unusual Suspects board.

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

What's Up in YA

A Blast From The YA Past: YA Reads From 10, 20, 30, and 40 years ago

Hey YA Readers!

Let’s take a trip down memory lane this week.

“What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert.

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get…


I don’t know about you, but I always love a good look through the big, popular books from years past. They tell us a lot about reading culture, the ups and downs in trends, and simply how much a particular area of reading has grown.

Here’s a look at three big titles from the last 10, 20, 30, and 40 years. I know I’ve said it before, but it is worth repeating: you’re going to be feeling old at the first titles. And that’s okay.

Descriptions are pulled from Amazon, simply because I haven’t read all (or most!) of these titles. Titles were compiled from a range of sources, from my own memory (2008 wasn’t that long ago), the Best Books lists from YALSA, Goodreads, and more. I’ve stuck with books which were first in a series, so there are certainly some big titles not included below.

As might also be noted, some of these titles could easily be categorized as middle grade more than young adult, but because of the crossover appeal, I’ve included them. Likewise, this list is quite white. It is with no doubt, though, that in 10 years when readers look back at what 2018 held in YA books, top titles will be far more inclusive.

Popular YA in 2008

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

Paper Towns by John Green

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.


Popular YA in 1998


If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

Both Elisha (Ellie) and Jeremiah (Miah) attend Percy Academy, a private school where neither quite fits in. Ellie is wrestling with family demons, and Miah is one of the few African American students. The two of them find each other, and fall in love — but they are hesitant to share their newfound happiness with their friends and families, who will not understand. At the end, life makes the brutal choice for them.

Singing The Dogstar Blues by by Alison Goodman

Seventeen-year-old Joss is a rebel, and a student of time travel at the prestigious Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. This year, for the first time, the Centre has an alien student: Mavkel, from the planet Choria. And Mavkel has chosen Joss, of all people, as his roommate and study partner. Then Mavkel gets sick. Joss quickly realizes that his will to live is draining away. The only way she can help Mavkel is by breaking the Centre’s strictest rules – and that means going back in time to change history.

The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake

Miss Saunders, whose skin is blotched with a rare skin condition, serves as a mirror to Maleeka Madison’s struggle against the burden of low self-esteem that many black girls face when they’re darker skinned. Miss Saunders is tough and through this, Maleeka learns to stand up to tough-talking Charlese.

Popular YA in 1988


The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Hannah is tired of holiday gatherings−all her family ever talks about is the past. In fact, it seems to her that’s what they do every Jewish holiday. But this year’s Passover Seder will be different−Hannah will be mysteriously transported into the past . . . and only she knows the unspeakable horrors that await.

On The Devil’s Court by Peter Deuker

What would you give to be your school’s superstar? After reading Dr. Faustus, Joe considers the merits of selling his soul to the devil. Suddenly, he finds himself changing from a lousy basketball player and a C student to the star athlete he always dreamed he could be. Even though he isn’t sure if he actually made a deal with the devil, he can’t help but enjoy the benefits that come with his newfound abilities. But is achieving his dreams worth what he may have given up?

Spellbound by Christopher Pike

In the wake of Karen Holly’s tragic death, many people believe that her boyfriend, Jason, is responsible, and when Jason takes a new girlfriend, newcomer Cindy, she and her friends must return to the scene of Karen’s murder.


Popular YA in 1978

Beauty by Robin McKinley

A strange imprisonment Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage. When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, “Cannot a Beast be tamed?” Robin McKinley’s beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast.

Happy Endings Are All Alike by Sandra Scoppettone

It’s their last summer before college, and Jaret and Peggy have fallen deeply in love. They exchange love letters, have pet names, and spend hours alone in their special clearing in the woods. For once, life is perfect. But Jaret and Peggy live in Gardener’s Point, a small town a hundred miles from New York City, and a place where girls only date boys. In Gardener’s Point, being different isn’t easy—but nothing could prepare them for the danger that lies ahead.

Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan

Mr. Griffin is the strictest teacher at Del Norte High, with a penchant for endless projects and humiliating his students. Even straight-A student Susan can’t believe how mean he is to the charismatic Mark Kinney. So when her crush asks Susan to help a group of students teach a lesson of their own, she goes along. After all, it’s a harmless prank, right?

But things don’t go according to plan. When one “accident” leads to another, people begin to die. Susan and her friends must face the awful truth: one of them is a killer.


Thanks for hanging out and we’ll see you around here next week for even more YA talk and fun

–Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars


Win a Copy of ROSIE COLORED GLASSES by Brianna Wolfs!


We have 10 copies of Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Rosie Collins makes everything dazzle. Rex Thorpe is serious and unsentimental. Yet when the two meet Rex is swept up in Rosie’s manic tornado of love. But, just as opposites attract, they also cause friction. When things fall apart, their daughter Willow must navigate two different worlds. She is clearly under the spell of her exciting, fun-loving mother. But as Rosie’s behavior becomes more turbulent, the darker underpinnings of her manic love are revealed.

Whimsical, heartbreaking, uplifting, Rosie Colored Glasses is a novel about the many ways love can find you and transform you, even if it can’t save you.


Go here to enter for a chance to win a copy, or just click on the cover image below. Good luck!

In The Club

In The Club Feb 7

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Let’s dive in.

Here We LieThis newsletter is sponsored by Here We Lie by Paula Treick DeBoard, new from Park Row Books.

Megan Mazeros is a girl from a modest Midwest background, and Lauren Mabrey is the daughter of a senator from an esteemed New England family. Complete opposites on paper, the two become roommates at a private women’s college and forge a strong friendship. The summer before senior year, Megan joins Lauren’s family on their private island off the coast of Maine, as a last hurrah before graduation. But late one night something unspeakable tears their friendship apart. Many years later, Megan publicly comes forward about what happened, revealing a horrible, long-buried truth.

The Read Harder recs continue! Here are suggestions for celebrity memoir and Oprah Book Club selections.

Speaking of Oprah: The latest Book Club pick is Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage 🎉.

Need some positive lit? Here are 10 books about overcoming the odds to inspire you and brighten your day/month/year.

Nature writing from the female perspective: This interview with Blair Braverman and Emily Ruskovich explores women’s nature writing, both nonfiction and fiction, and is a great discussion starter!

Downton Abbey book club! We’ve got a list of diverse reads for Downton Abbey fans, and this is a golden opportunity to discuss one of your favorite shows alongside a book that expands on its world and timeline. I want to do this yesterday.

For awards trackers: The PEN America Literary Award finalists have been announced, and it’s a hell of a list. The Debut Fiction category in particular is calling my name! The Bram Stoker nominees have also been announced, if horror is your group’s jam.

Get regional: Kelly put together a Latinx YA reading list, organized by country! It includes both fiction and nonfiction, and has a ton of great picks for a group discussion.

And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

Your fellow booknerd,

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page



Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel, new in paperback from Vintage Books.

Many people dream of escaping their life. Christopher Knight did it for 27 years. Journalist Michael Finkel draws on extensive interviews with Knight and shows how Knight lived in a secluded encampment, developing ingenious ways to store provisions and avoid freezing to death. A former alarm technician, he stealthily broke into nearby cottages for food, books, and supplies, taking only what he needed but sowing unease and fear in a community plagued by his mysterious burglaries. Since returning to the world, he has faced unique challenges—and compelled us to reexamine our assumptions about what makes a good life.

The Stack


Today’s The Stack is sponsored by Speak: The Graphic Novel.

Adapted by Laurie Halse Anderson herself and powerfully illustrated by Emily Carroll, the beloved and groundbreaking novel Speak is now a stunning graphic novel.

Today In Books

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Trailer Released: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Wires and Nerve, Volume 2 by Marissa Meyer.

Solo: A Star Wars Story Trailer Released

Good Morning, America aired the first full trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. On Sunday during the Super Bowl, Lucasfilm released a teaser, promising and delivering a full trailer today. The movie will follow Han Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich, as he meets Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian, played by Donald Glover, years before he joins the Rebellion. The movie is out May 25, and you can watch the trailer here.

DC’s New YA And Middle Grade Imprints

DC Entertainment announced two new original graphic novel publishing imprints: DC Ink for YA readers, and DC Zoom for middle grade readers. The stories will be built around characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, with the first titles from DC Ink and DC Zoom to be released this fall. The first DC Ink titles include Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer) and Steve Pugh, and Mera by Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die). The first DC Zoom title will be DC Super Hero Girls: Search for Atlantis by Shea Fontana (Wonder Woman Rebirth) and Yancey Labat.

Jason Reynolds To Serve As National Spokesperson For School Library Month

This April, Jason Reynolds will serve as the national spokesperson for the American Association of School Librarians’ 2018 School Library Month. The event “celebrates school libraries as approachable, equitable, and personalized learning environments necessary for every student’s well-rounded education.” The Ghost author recently spoke at the AASL National Conference in Phoenix.