The Kids Are All Right

New Children’s Book Releases for October 20, 2020

Hey readers! We’re back with another week of children’s new releases!

Princess Arabella At the Museum by Mylo Freeman

For art fans comes this new installment in the Arabella series, this one about Princess Arabella giving her friends a tour of her very own museum. The art is all related to Arabella’s family and has lots of exhibits kids can actually interact with. The art is stylized (like Arabella’s pigtail dots on the cover), introducing kids to a variety of art styles.

Eric by Shaun Tan

This is a surreal and heartwarming picture book about Eric, an exchange student who goes to live with a family in the suburbs. His host family isn’t sure if Eric’s enjoying his time with them, and cultural misunderstandings abound. When Eric leaves suddenly, the family thinks they may have done something wrong, but instead find a sweet gift waiting for them.

My Rainbow by Trinity and DeShanna Neal, illustrated by Art Twink

In this sweet and colorful picture book, Trinity, an autistic trans girl, wishes for long hair. It’s hard, however, to grow it out because Trinity doesn’t like hair touching her neck. So Trinity’s mom fashions a colorful wig for Trinity to wear.

When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten

On her small island, Clara is looking forward to a summer spending time with her best friend Gaynah. But Gaynah’s been treating her differently, and Clara’s still unsure of herself after something happened last summer, when a hurricane hit, and Clara can’t remember any of it. But her summer might be looking up when a new girl arrives on the island.

Flying Over Water by N.H. Senzai and Shannon Hitchcock

This near-history read takes place in 2017, as Trump’s Muslim ban and a rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric and hate crimes are on the rise. When Noura’s family, refugees from Syria, arrive in the U.S, they’re scared but trying to make the best of it. Noura’s kind school ambassador is Jordyn, a white girl coping with anxiety after her mom’s miscarriage, and the two girls realize they have a lot in common.

Distress Signal by Mary E. Lambert

This is a great pick for kids who love survival stories and even those who love a good friendship one, too. Sixth grader Lavender has been ditched by her best friend Marisol for the class mean girl, Rachelle, which makes the wilderness science camp she was so excited for a lot less exciting. When a prank goes wrong, Lavender, Marisol, Rachelle, and Lavender’s new partner John, are separated from the rest of the group and must work together to survive the treacherous Arizona landscape.

The Last Mirror on the Left by Lamar Giles, illustrated by Dapo Adeola

In this fun follow-up to The Last Last Day of Summer, the Alston boys–cousins Otto and Sheed–are forced to face the consequences of their last adventure. To stop the time freeze that stopped their entire town in its tracks, Otto and Sheed used Missus Nedraw of the Rorrim Mirror Emporium’s mirrors–without her permission. And unlike the rest of the town, Miss Nedraw remembers. But instead of punishing them, she asks for a favor instead. One of her prisoners has escaped, and she needs Otto and Sheed’s help to find them.

Until next week!

Chelsea (@ChelseaBigBang on Twitter)

Today In Books

Avengers Cast Unites For Fundraiser: Today In Books

Avengers Cast Unites For Fundraiser

The Russo Brothers are hosting a virtual grassroots fundraiser on October 20th, Voters Assemble, which will have Sen. Kamala Harris joined by Avengers’ actors Chris Evans, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, and Scarlett Johansson. The fundraiser will support Joe Biden’s presidential campaign with the goal to “unite for democracy.” You can expect fun as there will be a Q&A and a trivia game.

Lindy West & Samantha Irby In Virtual Chat

This is bound to be hilarious, informative, and perfectly snarky: Women & Children First’s Crowdcast Channel is hosting a chat on October 20th with authors Lindy West and Samantha Irby. A purchased ticket will also get you a copy of West’s essay collection Shit, Actually. And, for anyone who finds themselves unable to afford a ticket, there is an offer for “a limited number of scholarship tickets to those who are experiencing financial hardship.”

Voting For Not The Booker Now Open

If you want to help pick the winner of the Not The Booker award, you can vote between the six finalists now. If you have a favorite amongst Hashim & Family by Shahnaz Ahsan, Underdogs: Tooth and Nail by Chris Bonnello, The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré, Akin by Emma Donoghue, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, or Hello Friend We Missed You by Richard Owain Roberts, just go on over and leave a comment with your choice on The Guardian’s post. Haven’t read them yet? How confident are you in reading six books by Sunday?

Lesbian Manga and Yuri Manga: What’s the Difference and Where Should You Start?

What’s the difference between lesbian manga and yuri? Here are 14 F/F manga titles and series a new reader should start with.

New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

It’s time for another Tuesday full of books! There are several amazing new books out today. I am so madly in love with Plain Bad Heroines and Shit, Actually, and I can’t wait for everyone to read them! And at the top of my list of today’s titles that I want to read are Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda and Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity by Paola Ramos.

You can also hear about some amazing books on this week’s episode of All the Books! Tirzah and I discussed Plain Bad Heroines, Foreshadow, Ex Libris, and more great new books.

Because I have not read many of the books coming out this week (that I enjoy enough to recommend), I have decided to do something a little different and recommend three AMAZING books coming next year that you should mark down on your TBR right now. (Don’t fret: 2021 may seem far away, but just think, we’re already halfway through October!) These are books that I can’t stop thinking about, and I hope everyone will love as much as I do!

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

In the Quick by Kate Hope Day (March 2)

You may have heard me mention this on All the Books! a few weeks ago. It won’t be the last time by a mile – this might already be my favorite book of 2021! It’s set in a future where space travel is no biggie anymore, and teens go off to space boarding school to ready themselves for a career among the stars. June is a brilliant girl who is accepted early because of her famous uncle. While at school, a space shuttle goes missing, and everyone gives it up for lost, except for June, who is convinced the crew is still out there. But no one is interested in listening to a 12-year-old. Six years later, June embarks on her own first mission in space. But the crew of that lost shuttle still haunts her.

I loooooooooooooved this book. It’s so smart and beautiful. (also, I highly recommend skipping the publisher’s description, because it does not do the book justice.)

Backlist bump: If, Then by Kate Hope Day

The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard (January 19)

This book melted my brain in the best way. It’s freaking genius! It is set in the early 20th century and takes place in two parts. The first section follows the African American staff of a white family whose fortune is slipping away, and the racism and danger the staff faces every day, both at work and outside the home. And the second part is set ten years later, after a horrific crime at the home. It details the life of one of the former maids as she attempts to grow her own business, but keeps finding her dealings overshadowed by the her time at the home. It’s such a powerful novel that I immediately read it again because I didn’t want to lose that feeling it gave my brain. And you heard it here first: This is my guess for the National Book Award for Fiction in 2021!

Backlist bump: The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard

Two Truths and a Lie: Murder, Obsession, and Justice in the Sunshine State by Ellen McGarrahan (February 2)

(Just a heads up that there will be discussion of violence and death in this description.)

And this is one of the best true crime books I have read in a long time! When McGarrahan was a young reporter in Miami, they sent her to witness the execution of a man accused of killing two police officers. What she saw is too distressing to write down here, so I’ll just say that it caused her to quit her job shortly after and take off looking for answers that would make sense of the world. But many years later, hearing whispers that the man she saw executed was innocent of the crime, McGarrahan – now a private detective – decided to investigate the case herself. This is an excellent examination of trauma, the death penalty, corruption, celebrity, and the people left behind. (Related: the other amazing true crime book I have read recently is We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper, out November 10!)

Backlist bump: The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

As always, I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. Please reach out to your friends and family if you need someone to talk to, and be sure to keep social distancing and washing your hands to keep yourself and others safe.

Thanks for subscribing! – XO, Liberty



We’re giving away five copies of Doomsday Clock: The Complete Collection by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank to five lucky Riot readers!

Enter here for a chance to win, or click the cover image below!

Here’s what it’s all about:

The world of Watchmen collides with the DC Universe in the most shocking story in DC history! Presented by master storytellers Geoff Johns and Gary Frank–As the Doomsday Clock ticks toward midnight, the DC Universe will encounter its greatest threat: Dr. Manhattan. But nothing is hidden from Manhattan, and the secrets of the past, present, and future will leave ramifications on our heroes’ lives forever. Alongside Rorschach and the never-before-seen Mime and Marionette, Veidt follows Manhattan to the DC Universe, which is on the brink of collapse as tensions push the “Doomsday Clock” closer to midnight. Is this all Dr. Manhattan’s doing? 

Book Radar

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER to Get Small Screen Revivals and More Book Radar!

Hello readers and happy Monday! (It is Monday, I checked.) I hope you had a pleasant weekend and were able to get some reading done. I myself read books. (*Heather Chandler voice* “Quelle surprise.”)

I also watched several episodes of Murder, She Wrote, for work reasons. (No, really.) I originally saw the first few seasons as a child when they aired, but I haven’t seen it since then, aside from a couple of episodes that I watched last year. It has actually aged pretty well! (Of all the old shows I have rewatched in the last few years, surprisingly, Wings is the most horrifyingly problematic. And I say that having rewatched Soap!)

My favorite part of watching Murder, She Wrote – and old shows in general – is seeing beloved character actors or recognizing famous actors in early roles. I like to try and name them by other roles they’ve played. “It’s the rooster from Robin Hood! It’s Meleager the Mighty from Xena! It’s Julia Capwell from Santa Barbara!” It’s a fun game, and I highly recommend it.

Moving on, I have a bunch of fun bookish stuff to share with you to kick off your week, including another amazing book coming in 2021 that I have been dying to tell you about! Also, if you are looking for something funny to read during these dark days, I HIGHLY recommend picking up Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema by Lindy West when it comes out tomorrow. I laughed until I howled, and then read it a second time out loud to my boyfriend, and laughed even harder!

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

Here’s Monday’s trivia question: ““The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” is the parenthetical title of what nonfiction book? (Scroll to the bottom for the answer.)

Deals, Reals, and Squeals!


Ava DuVernay will direct Netflix’s adaptation of Caste by Isabel Wilkerson.

Fried Green Tomatoes is being adapted into a series starring Reba McEntire and produced by Norman Lear.

WOOHOO! Hulu is adapting Interior Chinatown, the National Book Award-nominated novel by Charles Yu. (I LOVE THIS BOOK.)

And speaking of small screen revamps: I Know What You Did Last Summer is also going to be a new series.

Stacey Abrams is releasing a political thriller.

Emma Roberts will produce a YA vampire series, based on a story by V.E. Schwab.

Lena Waithe will produce a Sammy Davis Jr. biopic, based on a book by his daughter.

George Clooney will direct and Bob Dylan will produce an adaptation of John Grisham’s Calico Joe.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

Devoted by Dean Koontz is being adapted for television.

Gabrielle Union has optioned The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray for a series adaptation.

Dexter is coming back to Showtime for a limited series.

And speaking of crime, the rights to Alice Diamond And The Forty Elephants, Brian McDonald’s true crime story about Diamond’s all-female crime syndicate, have been snatched up.

Yasha Jackson has joined the cast of The Flight Attendant.

Here’s the trailer for season two of His Dark Materials, which now feature Hot Priest/Moriarty.

Bill Nighy will star in Kazuo Ishiguro’s adaptation of Kurosawa’s Ikiru.

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

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

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

What I’m reading this week.

My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee

The Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette

We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker 

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean 

Summerwater by Sarah Moss 

Pun of the week: 

Need an ark? I Noah guy.

And this is funny:

It’s funny because it’s true.

Happy things:

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

And here’s a cat picture!

Midnight moth hunters!

Trivia answer: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

You made it to the bottom! Thanks for reading! – xo, L

Kissing Books


How’s the weather where you are? I’ve seen some instances of autumn in a few places on the Gram, and I need a streaming service that’s just cozy music and sounds over an ongoing drive through Skyline Drive or some other lovely place that’s just changing trees in breathtaking colors. Because desert trees? Definitely not the same. 

So books. 

News and Useful Links

BRIDGERTON IS COMING. (And here’s an EW article if you want a deeper look at the…first look.) Mark your calendars for December 25, because that’s the most important thing happening that day. (I kid. Sort of.) 

Did someone say Brenda Jackson Cinematic Universe? I think we’re getting a Brenda Jackson Cinematic Universe. 

There was also this awesome conversation between Reese Ryan and Brenda Jackson.

Did you catch any of the romance talks from the Frankfurt Book Fair? The Body Positivity one was posted on Facebook, but I’m not sure about the others. 

Have you checked out Love’s Sweet Arrow’s Boozy Book Broads series on YouTube? Their most recent one with Diana Biller included some…hints? About her next book. 

You can also RSVP for The Ripped Bodice’s upcoming launch party for Rebekah Weatherspoon’s If the Boot Fits

And if you haven’t checked out the Black Romance Podcast, it’s definitely worth a listen. 

Christina C. Jones is doing something new on YouTube.   

And then there’s this bit of gorgeousness.


Love All Year: A Holidays Anthology

If you’re looking for a good deal re: stories : dollars, you really can’t go wrong with a good anthology. And while there are plenty of anthologies regularly coming out, I gotta highlight the deal that is Love All Year: seven stories, 2.99. Love All Year is a holiday anthology, but like…a legit holiday anthology. Sukkot, Yule, Juneteenth, and more are celebrated within these pages. Check it out!


So you know how I broke up with Kindle Unlimited a while ago? That didn’t last long—the itch was getting to me as I was adding more and more books to my “to read when I get KU again someday” list. I still have all the same problems listed in my post, but there was a deal on a six-month subscription so…:shrug-emoji:

I did take the chance to read a couple seasonally-appropriate books, though!

Sanctuary by Alexandria House

All I knew about this book going in was that the subtitle referenced “noire immortals” and I was all for it. 

Temple is a radio DJ who gets a couple of song requests that bring up memories of her youth. She can’t believe it when it turns out the requestor is her first love, the man who loved her, loved on her, and then disappeared without a trace. He’s come back to apologize and maybe even get back together…and with a story to tell. Turns out he’s immortal—one of the First People. Oh, and kind of…royalty? She doesn’t let him off easily, but the book isn’t that long, so you don’t have to yell at both of them for too much time. Also, this book is hella sexy. Like whoa sexy. You definitely want to check it out.

The Ghost and Katie Coyle by Anne Kelleher

You know how I was crying about wanting a book like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir but with a different kind of happy ending? Reader, this is that book. I mean, I’m sure there are others (thanks to those of you who reached out with recommendations, I’m on it!) but this one definitely invoked similar energy, but with a ghost that can become solid in certain situations and—you guessed it—hot ghost sex. It’s dated, both in terms of content and themes of consent; there is not a cell phone to be found (though there’s a throwaway line about cell service not reaching the small town) and also there’s one specific scene with a sort of “it’s okay, I wanted it” moment. But otherwise, it’s a super quick read that only leaves us with a couple questions at the end (lolsob, you’ll understand what I mean). 

I’ve also got MINK’s haunted house romance, Under His Spell, on my borrowed list, but that ghost appears to be a specter set to haunt the main couple. I’ve got a few more to check out, though!

Any ghostly plans for the week?

As usual, catch me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or send me an email at if you’ve got feedback, bookrecs, or just want to say hi!

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for October 20

Happy Tuesday, shipmates! It’s Alex, bringing the new releases and a chilling tale of a Twinkie that has defied scientific understanding. (No, really. Check the bottom of the news section. I love this story and I cannot begin to explain why.) To be honest, things are a little freaky here in Northern Colorado right now… the Cameron Peak fire that’s been keeping us inside for weeks is now the biggest fire in state history (heading for 200K acres burned as of this writing) and around 1:00 in the afternoon on Saturday, a new fire touched off just 17 miles from the city center of Boulder, forcing the immediate evacuation of Jamestown. The massive smoke plume had people pulling over on the streets near my house to watch. So really, I’m just saying hug the people you can, check in with the people you can’t, global climate change is real and we need to get our butts in gear, and stay safe out there.

Thing to smile about: this twitter thread that tracks a 4000-year history of cats walking on our stuff

Looking for non-book things you can do to help in the quest for justice? and The Okra Project.

New Releases

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

Gyen Jebi just wants to be left alone to pursue their art, but when they find themself jobless and desperate, they are recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the magical sigils that animate its automatons. Unable to ignore politics any longer–especially those of the government occupying their land–they have no choice but to rise up and fight. And stealing the mighty dragon atuomaton Arazi is a good first step in their personal war.

God Storm by Coco Ma

After defeating her evil mother and the demon she summoned to try to kill her, Queen Asterin Faelenhart should be celebrating. But darkness has fallen over her kingdom and shadows the queen, reminding her of the sacrifices she made for her crown. The path of the Immortal Realm, ruled by the God of Shadow, begins to intertwine with her kingdom, and she realizes that the wicked ruler of this other realm has the answer to everything she lost and wants returned.

The Mirror Man by Jane Gilmartin

Jeremiah leaps at the offer to escape a life he feels disconnected from; all it takes is participation in an illegal cloning experiment, and he’ll be paid handsomely for it besides. The experimental drug transfers his memories to his clone and lets it take over his life. He soon finds out that watching his own life as an outside observer is an even more displacing reality… and that doesn’t even cover his horror as he watches his clone go into an out-of-control spiral that places his family in danger.

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Matsuda Aoko translated by Polly Barton

A collection of linked stories that are feminist retellings of Japanese folktales, where the traditionally feminine is cultivated rather than feared or suppressed.

The Fourth Island by Sarah Tolmie

The hidden fourth island of Aran is a place populated by the lost, only found by the dead, dying, and lost after they have given in to a dark emotion. But rather than a hell of the lost, the fourth island and its lost souls have become a community that welcomes those who find refuge there and offers a chance of redemption.

Of Fury and Fangs by Kyoko M.

Dr. Rhett Jackson finds out someone wants him dead in the worst possible way–when a dragon tries to kill him in his own home. Unfortunately, his list of enemies is long–not everyone is happy with the scientists who resurrected dragons from the dead to begin with.

News and Views

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Ignyte Awards!

This recent interview with Cory Doctorow has me jumping out of my chair and yelling: Technologists have failed to listen to non-technologists

He also hits it out of the park with this one, IMO: The Dangers of Cynical Sci-Fi Disaster Stories

NPR did a great interview with Rebecca Roanhorse about Black Sun

TOC for the Breathe FIYAH flash fiction anthology, which is available for free on as of yesterday.

Time’s list of the 100 best fantasy books of all time has some good picks on it. (And some that made me snort rudely into my tea, but let’s not get into that.)

Words matter: In Dune, Paul Atreides led a jihad, not a crusade

Cover reveal for Defekt by Nino Cipri, sequel to Finna. (Full disclosure: Nino and I have the same agent.)

New book coming from S.L. Huang!

Really cool animation of a black hole made using the Unreal enginer

A disturbing Twinkie that has, so far, defied science

On Book Riot

A beginner’s guide to gothic fantasy

This week’s episode of SFF Yeah! is about the books you rediscover while packing

You could win a copy of Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

This month, you can enter to win a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card.

See you, space pirates. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me over at my personal site.

Check Your Shelf

Western Gothics and Filipino Horror

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Each week when I’m working my assigned day in the library, I get a little spark of joy when I’m able to provide valuable information for a patron, or put a book on hold for them. It reminds me that I can still feel competent at something. And then mixed in are the people who call the library looking for a medical diagnosis from WebMD, and I’m reminded that it really is a bizarre environment we work in. Here’s hoping for a week free from descriptions of other people’s medical symptoms.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

The American Booksellers Association is launching a national campaign against Amazon.

Penguin Random House launches Book the Vote in order to combat disinformation and increase voter turnout.

How to help local bookstores during the holiday shopping season. Related: your local bookstore wants you to know that it’s struggling.

New & Upcoming Titles

Stacey Abrams has a political thriller coming out next spring called While Justice Sleeps!

Michael Cohen is writing a second book.

S.A. Cosby (author of Blacktop Wasteland) has another book coming out next summer called Razorblade Tears.

Justina Ireland announced her first middle grade novel.

Tara Reade has a memoir coming out on October 27th.

Model & actress Emily Ratajkowski’s book My Body will be published in 2022.

Kirkus picks 13 of the scariest books written this year.

Books you may have missed in September.

5 spooky books to read in October.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, New York Times, and USA Today.

October picks from Crime Reads (true crime), Lit Hub, Parade, and Town & Country.

Fall crime titles and crime series to keep on your radar.

20 #OwnVoices YA novels coming out this fall and winter.

Best romance novels of 2020.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

The Silence – Don DeLillo (New York Times, Washington Post)

Shelter in Place – David Leavitt (New York Times, NPR)

150 Glimpses of The Beatles – Craig Brown (New York Times, Washington Post)

Plain Bad Heroines – Emily M. Danforth (Washington Post)

The Searcher – Tana French (LA Times)

RA/Genre Resources

Reading pathways for Octavia E. Butler.

Your guide to the fantastical worlds of Rebecca Roanhorse.

On the Riot

5 new nonfiction books to help us understand these troubling times.

5 novels from 2020 featuring complicated female characters.

A beginner’s guide to the Western gothic genre.

A beginner’s guide to gothic fantasy.

An introduction to Filipino horror.

Reading pathway for Anthony Horowitz.

Why you need to read more Black immigrant literature.

Native literature for kids and teens.

All Things Comics

HarperCollins launches an I Can Read! Comics line for beginning and emerging readers.

LA Comic-Con has been cancelled for 2020, with plans to return in 2021.

On the Riot

Next reads for Watchmen fans.

5 comics about dissent in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

3 illustrated books for your TBR.


Here are the October 2020 Earphones Award winners.

19 horror audiobooks that will haunt you for weeks. YES PLEASE.

Audiobooks for your pandemic playlist.

On the Riot

Appalachian audiobooks that taught this reader how to say goodbye.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


10 spooky children’s books for a Halloween at home.

16 great chapter books for third graders.

16 beautifully written YA books that will completely destroy you.

35 completed YA series to marathon.


Time picks the 100 best fantasy books of all time.

20 recommended reads honoring Indigenous Peoples.

5 Indigenous SFF authors you should be reading.

The best books to help us navigate the next 50 years.

10 contemporary books by Korean American writers.

Agatha Christie’s best Poirot mysteries other than Murder on the Orient Express.

Historical fiction for fans of Hilary Mantel.

Cozy up with these spooky books for your Halloween in lockdown.

11 favorite horror novels from Mental Floss.

5 SFF books about flawed gods.

6 SFF books by Jewish authors from around the world.

24 romance novels to warm your heart.

17 crime fiction series that use real historical figures as sleuths.

On the Riot

Books to sing your baby or tot to sleep.

20 must-read Halloween books for preschoolers.

13 spooky middle grade novels.

9 of the best YA vampire books.

4 speculative YA books about women of the high seas.

8 witchy YA novels to get you in the mood for Halloween.

6 books celebrating women’s early contributions to fantasy and scifi.

11 of the best LGBTQ urban fantasy novels.

11 books about the bias against women in healthcare and medicine.

8 books to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

10 Native North American women writers to read this fall.

7 eerie books by Asian American authors to read this Halloween.

17 excellent short stories by Black authors.

10 eerie books for autumn.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? We’ve made it easy for you to find eligible diverse titles to nominate. Kelly Jensen created a database of upcoming diverse books that anyone can edit, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word is doing the same, as well as including information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

See you all on Friday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently reading The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones.

Read This Book

Read This Book: THE BRIDE TEST by Helen Hoang

Welcome to Read This Book, the newsletter where I recommend a book you should add to your TBR, STAT! I stan variety in all things, and my book recommendations will be no exception. These must-read books will span genres and age groups. There will be new releases, oldie but goldies from the backlist, and the classics you may have missed in high school. Oh my! If you’re ready to diversify your books, then LEGGO!!

I freaking love rom-coms! I love the good ones. I love the great ones. I even love the bad ones. Although I’ve been enjoying romantic comedies in movie form for years, I have started reading them in their bookish form only recently. Today, I want to talk about a must-read love story that got me through the early stages of quarantine. 

The Bride Test Book Cover

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Khai Diep has no feelings … except maybe irritation when people move his things or contentment when completing ledgers, but he doesn’t experience important emotions like grief and certainly not love. Khai thinks he’s defective, but his family knows Khai just processes emotions differently because of his autism. When Khai continues to avoid relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands by returning to Vietnam in search of the perfect bride. 

Esme Tran has always felt out of place as a mixed-race person living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, so she jumps at the opportunity to improve her life and the lives of her family by traveling to America to meet a potential husband. However, seducing Khai isn’t going as planned, and Esme’s time in the United States is dwindling. 

Although The Bride Test is referred to as The Kiss Quotient #2, this story is completely separate from The Kiss Quotient. The one link between the two novels is the brief mention of Khai in The Kiss Quotient. If you have been avoiding The Bride Test because you haven’t yet read The Kiss Quotient, then I’m here to tell you to dive right in! These are two separate love stories that stand on their own. 

This is another book I finished in record time because I couldn’t get enough of it. Every time I finished a chapter, the end was so juicy that I couldn’t just end my reading session. My favorite character was Esme who showed the importance of self love. She was not just in this to find a husband, Esme wanted to improve herself and do it on her own terms. I also appreciated Hoang’s ability to once again write Khai as a character with autism who doesn’t feel one dimensional.

The romance between Esme and Khai was electric, and I loved watching their blossoming love. Them coming together in the end felt satisfying and left me wanting more. Overall, The Bride Test is the perfect read for rom-com lovers, readers in need of a feel-good book, or for fans of The Kiss Quotient

Until next time bookish friends,


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