Canada Giveaways


We’re giving away five copies of The Woman Outside My Door by Rachel Ryan 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:

An unforgettable new voice in suspense fiction, Rachel Ryan weaves a thrilling page-turner about a young mother who can’t shake the feeling that her son’s “imaginary” friend is putting him in danger and who will stop at nothing to keep him safe—perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Mary Kubica.



We’re giving away five copies of The Book Tour by Andi Watson 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:

It’s just a book tour. What could go wrong? In this Kafkaesque dark comedy of a graphic novel… plenty. Upon the publication of his latest novel, G. H. Fretwell, a minor English writer, embarks on a book tour to promote it. Nothing is going according to plan, and his trip gradually turns into a nightmare. But now the police want to ask him some questions about a mysterious disappearance, and it seems that Fretwell’s troubles are only just beginning…

“A hugely entertaining page-turner.” —Library Journal (starred review)

The Kids Are All Right

Kidlit Deals for December 2, 2020

Welcome to the end of the year, kidlit pals! I can’t believe it’s already December, and yet this book also feels like it’s been 200 months long! We are in the home stretch, though! And if you want tons of great reading to keep you going, good news–I have some great deals rounded up for you today! As always, these deals won’t last long, so snag them while you can!

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Silas Neal Christopher is a beautiful and educational picture book about the winter season, and it’s just $1.

Did you read and love Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls? Now get Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 for only $3.

Any Big Nate fans here? Big Nate: Dibs on This Chair by Lincoln Peirce and many others in the series are under $5!

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin (author of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon!) is just $2–and so are the sequels The Year of the Rat and Dumpling Days!

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephen Pastis is free on Kindle for a limited time!

The picture book Hike by Pete Oswald is just $1!

Mooncakes by Loretta Seto and Renné Benoit is a great picture book about celebrating the Chinese Moon Festival, and it’s $5.

The Last Musketeer by Stuart Gibbs is just $4–plus it’s a great series starter!

The sixth book in The School for Good and Evil series, One True King, is just $3!

a volcano smokes and giant eyes look out from behind it. in the foreground, a teenage boy swims under a wave, pulling a fuzzy obscured figure behind him.

And did you miss The Storm Runner by JC Cervantes earlier? It’s back to just $2!

Happy reading!

Riot Rundown


In The Club

In the Club 12/2/20

Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed. I took a look at the calendar today and realized we only four newsletters left in 2020! My brain is equal parts stunned by that fact and hopped up on peppermint bark.

The next few newsletters will likely be of a “best of” or “year in review,” variety, but today we’re going to talk about wintry reads. I’d call them cozy, but there’s some murder thrown in there—you know, for good measure.

To the club!!

Nibbles and Sips

Today I’m hitting you with the most basic, ridiculously simple “recipe.” I’m almost ashamed to call it that, but it’s one of my faves!

  • Step 1: Procure a tub of really good vanilla or sweet cream ice cream (chocolate works too if that’s what you’re craving). Let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften up.
  • Step 2: Grab a bunch of candy canes and stick them in a Ziplock or fancy reusable bag.
  • Step 3: Bring all of your frustrations, anger, and existential dread to the surface. Feel it? Good. Proceed.
  • Step 4: Use all that rage to blast those candy canes into smithereens. Smash ’em! Smash ’em good!
  • Step 5: Mix the candy cane smashy bits into your ice cream and enjoy your candy cane ice cream!

Tis the Season – For me, December reading is all about chilly reads, magical books, or a combo of the two. Here are a few that fit the bill.

cover image of Half Spent Was the Night by Ami McKay

Half Spent Was the Night by Ami McKay

I have been wanting to own a witchy tea shop since reading The Witches of New York last year and waited a full year to read its sequel during the holidays! As Beatrice, Eleanor, and Adelaide roast chestnuts and melt lead to see their fates, a series of odd messengers come a-callin’ with invitations for each of them. The invites are to an NYE masquerade hosted by a mysterious woman they’ve never met. Who is this woman? Is this a grand and generous gesture or a trap? The witches don their most decadent finery and head for the ball to find out. I do think you should read these in order, so go back and read the first book if you haven’t, then travel to Gilded-Age New York with this treat of a story in the tradition of Victorian winter tales.

Book club bonus: Yes, this book revolves around an enchanted and magical evening, but the women are still witches and thus are walking targets. Talk about the importance of their friendship as a tool for deflecting the accusations and cruelty that are an ever-present part of their world.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

I told you this list wan’t going to be all feel-good books and this literary mystery is precisely why. Janina is a reclusive woman in a remote Polish village who minds the homes of well-to-do Polish residents who’ve left town for the brutally cold winter. When a neighbor’s suspicious death is followed by several other equally suspicious deaths, Janina insists that the killings have been at the hands (hooves? paws?) of animals enacting vigilante justice on the vile men who hunted them. The book doesn’t ask who dunnit, but instead asks why. Again, not a “cozy” read in the traditional sense, but the cold just leaps off the page and feels apropos for winter reading.

Book club bonus: There’s no shortage of topics to unpack here, but I like to focus on the roles of empathy, ageism, and man’s impact on the natural world are portrayed.

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

Winter makes me crave all things magical and this is one of my favorite magical reads of 2020. In a world reminiscent of Regency England, Beatrice Claybourn wants nothing more than to practice magic as a profession. But women don’t get to do that sort of thing; in fact, they’re fitted with a collar that cuts off their powers as soon as soon they’re wed. Beatrice locates a rare grimoire that will help grant her wish to do magic, but another sorceress takes the book right out from under her. Beatrice sets out get the grimoire back and catches major feelings for the stealing sorceress’ hottie brother in the process. Soon she’s faced with an impossible choice: does she give into love, wed this lovely man, and in doing so save her family from destitution at the cost of her hopes and dreams? Or does she follow her heart and turn her back on everyone she loves?

Book club bonus: Did you catch the part about the collar? Could that, I dunno, be a symbol? C.L. Polk is saying big things about the repression and subjugation of women and I am here for all of it. Discuss.

Christmas Kisses by Farrah Rochon

I came across this collection of Christmas tales while looking up Farrah Rochon’s catalog after falling in love with The Boyfriend Project. The stories in this collection whisk us off to a rustic Italian village and a luxury ski resort in Colorado for some holiday romance. I would love to read this with a buddy this winter, if for no other reason that to gush about brown and Black love.

Book club bonus: This year has been a rollercoaster in my reading life, but one thing I learned for sure is how healing it is to take a break from reading about trauma. Those kinds of reads are important too, no doubt. But for real though: people deserve to read about joy. Crack that nut open in book club!

Suggestion Section

Jenna Bush Hager selects Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye for her December book club pick.

POPSUGAR announces the winners of the 2020 POPSUGAR Book Club Awards

Some book club news from my adopted state: the University of Oregon’s Deconstructing Whiteness Working Group invites faculty members to participate in a book club focused on the intersections of disability and other marginalized identities. I hope more higher education spaces are creating spaces to examine ableism, racism, homophobia, etc.

Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at with your burning book club questions or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the Audiobooks newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends. 


Unusual Suspects

December Criminals

Hello mystery fans! This week I thought I’d highlight books publishing in December since I always feel bad that those books may get lost with the holidays and the end of the year chaos of everything else–which technically has been all of 2020, so maybe it’s doubled this year?

A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de León

Yolanda Vance, a lawyer whose firm got raided and was hired by the FBI, quickly learns she’s wanted for undercover work she’s not trained for because the FBI wants to infiltrate a teen activist group they’ve labeled as extremist. Vance ends up taking the assignment and her own views are challenged as she gets to know the group’s members, falls in love, and learns her life is in grave danger… I’m a big fan of de León and will continue looking forward to her work. (Review) (TW drug overdose, talk of addiction/ brief past mention of child-on-child attempted sexual assault)

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg

Here’s a historical mystery with a little steampunk. In 1958 there are secret tunnels below London, and deep below the city you will find Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries–a team of detectives solving the crimes that Scotland Yard has been unable to solve. Okay, how do I go work for them?!

Shed No Tears (Cat Kinsella #3) by Caz Frear

The third in the British procedural series that follows Detective Constable Cat Kinsella, who starts the series off with wondering if her father is responsible for the missing teenage girl case from almost two decades prior…Now she’s got a serial killer case and her superiors are still unaware that her family isn’t the most up-and-up bunch.

Accra Noir by Nana-Ama Danquah

A new entry into the anthology noir series from Akashic Books. These are great to pick up for crime readers who want to find new authors to follow. “The stories that you will read in this collection highlight all things Accra, everything that the city was and is—the remaining vestiges of colonialism, the pride of independence, the nexus of indigenous tribes and other groups from all over the world, the tension between modernity and traditionalism, the symbolism and storytelling both obvious and coded, the moral high ground, the duplicity and deceit, the most basic human failings laid bare alongside fear and love and pain and the corrupting desire to have the very things you are not meant to have.

Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers (A Woman of WWII Mystery #2) by Tessa Arlen

This is the sequel to Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders (Review), which followed an amateur sleuth during WWII, Air Raid Warden Poppy Redfern. Now, in 1942, she’s a scriptwriter at the London Crown Film Unit. When her film project has her witness the death of a female fighter pilot, which is labeled an accident, Poppy puts on her sleuth cap again.

Take It Back (Zara Kaleel #1) by Kia Abdullah

I actually didn’t know this was the start to a series when I read it but I assume now that it’ll follow more cases picked up by Zara Kaleel: a former barrister who currently works for Artemis House as a sexual violence advisor. This is a legal thriller that follows an entire rape case, from accusation through to the end of the legal process. (Review) (TW rape/ brief mention and details of past suicide attempt/ brief female to male partner abuse/ ableism and bullying/ brief recount of past animal cruelty/ addiction/ Islamophobia/ anti-Semite trope comment)

Snow Drift by Helene Tursten

If you’re looking for a Swedish procedural, here you go. Fifteen years ago Detective Inspector Embla Nyström’s best friend Lollo disappeared. Now she’s just received a call from her, meaning she must still be alive. But then a man is found murdered and it’s the man Nyström remembers having seen Lollo last with…

The Dead Season (Shana Merchant #2) by Tessa Wegert

This is the sequel to Death in the Family (Review), which is a mystery set on a remote island where a family member is missing and the two detectives are now trapped on the island during a storm with the family full of secrets. Now Senior Investigator Shana Merchant is back, but this time it’s her past that takes center stage, as her abductor (previous to the first book) has shown up again…

Call of Vultures by Kate Kessler

This isn’t connected on Goodreads as a sequel but it’s the same character, Killian Delaney, from Seven Crows, so I assume this is the sequel. Delaney is one of those characters that is seriously tough and takes no shit and will fight to save anyone she loves. And now she’s a part of the Network, which is “a group of well-funded individuals who help the weakest among us.”

From The Book Riot Crime Vault

4 Genderbent Sherlock Holmes Novels for the 21st Century

Thieves, Drugs, and Cons: 7 True Crime Books Not About Murder

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming releases for 2020 and 2021. 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

New Releases: Ijeoma Oluo, Women’s History, and More

Want a gift for someone who loves new releases? Possibly of the nonfiction variety? Then we’ve got some new nonfiction to check out!:

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo

If you loved the very-popular-this-year So You Want to Talk About Race, you’ll probably be pretty into this “history of white male America and a scathing indictment of what it has cost us socially, economically, and politically.” I keep track of a LOT of new nonfiction, and there are very few I mark that I’m very excited about. This is one of them.

Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy by Leslie Brody

Harriet the Spy came out in 1964 and has been the cause of countless children starting to spy on their neighbors and be very revved up by the idea of an egg cream. But what about its author?: “As a children’s author and a lesbian, Fitzhugh was often pressured to disguise her true nature. Sometimes You Have to Lie tells the story of her hidden life and of the creation of her masterpiece, which remains long after her death as a testament to the complicated relationship between truth, secrecy, and individualism.”

How the Internet Really Works: An Illustrated Guide to Protocols, Privacy, Censorship, and Governance by Article 19

Do you know how the internet works? Like really how it works? Well, here is a cartoon cat to explain to you the technical aspects of the Internet that you need in order to advocate for digital rights. I’m talking transport protocols, basic internet infrastructure, security and privacy, algorithms, and MORE. Sure, it sounds potentially overwhelming, but need I remind you of the cartoon cat.

Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico: Portraits of Soldaderas, Saints, and Subversives ed. by Kathy Sosa, Ellen Riojas Clark, and Jennifer Speed

Oh man, women’s history for December. This anthology comprises 18 separate portraits, with a focus on women of the Mexican Revolution, but also including women like Frida Kahlo and activist Emma Tenayuca. Each portrait is paired with a historical or literary piece by a contemporary writer who was inspired by their subject’s legacy.

Best of luck in your gift searching, and don’t forget to take a breather and maybe get yourself a little something.

For more nonfiction reads, 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

Read This Book: CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC by Sophie Kinsella

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!!

How’s your wallet holding up after Black Friday (and Small Business Saturday) and Cyber Monday (and Giving Tuesday)? Mine was on fire over the weekend, but has since simmered. Thanks to some really great deals at all of my favorite stores, I put quite the dent in my credit card. With all my wild spending (and no end in sight), I started to feel like Rebecca Bloomwood, as portrayed by Isla Fisher, because the pretty sparkly things were calling me, and I happily answered the calls.

Confessions of a Shopaholic Book Cover

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Rebecca “Becky” Bloomwood lives in a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, hangs with a group of glamorous socialites, and has a closet brimming with designer clothes. The only problem is she can’t actually afford any of it. Not only does her job writing at Successful Savings magazine bore her to tears, it also doesn’t pay well, and lately Becky has been bombarded with letters from her bank she can’t bear to read. Rebecca tries cutting back (and making more money), but none of her efforts succeeds. Then a story arises that Becky actually cares about and her front-page article starts a chain of events that will transform her life and the lives of those around her.

There were so many times I experienced secondhand embarrassment while reading Confessions of a Shopaholic. Rebecca would be on the verge of doing the most cringeworthy thing, and I would just have to put the book down for a minute with a deep sigh. After remembering Rebecca is a fictional character, and it’s above me now, I would eventually return to the story and cringe while watching Bex fork up her finances one more forking time. 

While I was often frustrated with Becky and her lack of impulse control when it came to shopping, I also found her predicament quite relatable. I too spent many years in my 20s overspending and paid for it greatly in my 30s. Like Bex, I justified a lot of purchases because of a sale, or it seemed like a one of a kind find. However, the truth of the matter was we both just didn’t have the best handle on our finances.

The other aspect of the book I appreciated was it mostly focused on Rebecca and her shopaholic ways. No punches were held because for the majority of Confessions of a Shopaholic, Becky was a mess. I liked the author not sugar coating the situation or trying to lighten the story with a love story. The “Boy Meets Girl” love story was secondary, and I loved that … even as a rom-com fan. 

Until next time bookish friends,


Find more of me on Book Riot

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Today In Books

226 Love Letters Written By Kurt Vonnegut: Today In Books

226 Love Letters Written By Kurt Vonnegut

While cleaning out the attic in her family’s home in 2010 Edie Vonnegut made a huge discovery: a box filled with her father, Kurt Vonnegut’s, love letters to her mother, Jane Vonnegut. And now they can be read in the new book Love, Kurt: The Vonnegut Love Letters, 1941-1945.

Dictionaries Choose Same Word Of The Year and Merriam-Webster have each revealed their “word of the year,” and this should come as a shock to no one in the year 2020, they both chose the word “pandemic”. “The resilience and resourcefulness people confronted the pandemic with also manifested itself in tremendous linguistic creativity. Throughout 2020, our team has been tracking a growing body of so-called coronacoinages that have given expression—and have offered some relief from tragedy, some connection in isolation—to the lived experience of a surreal year.”

Ben Bova, Legendary Sci-Fi Author, Has Passed Away

Ben Bova, Hugo Award winning author of more than 120 science fiction and fact works, has passed away. Kathryn Brusco, his niece by marriage, posted the sad news on Twitter on November 29th that Bova passed away from “COVID-19 related pneumonia and a stroke. Needless to say, he will be missed terribly by us and the the world.”

Best Books Of 2020

Welcome, readers, to Book Riot’s guide to the best books of 2020!

What's Up in YA

Your YA Book News and New YA Books: December 3, 2020

Hey YA Readers!

We’re (finally) in the last month of the year. I don’t know about you, but even though I know 2021 might not look much different, something about being able to turn the page on this calendar year feels like a triumph.

Last week there was no YA newsletter on Thursday due to Thanksgiving, so there’s a little more news this week than usual at this time of year. I’ve also included last week’s new YA books here so they don’t get missed.

YA Book News

New YA Books

Admission by Julie Buxbaum

The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley

The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West

The Black Friend by Frederick Joseph

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao (paperback, series)

Bright Shining World by Josh Swiller

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian (paperback)

Essentially Charli by Charli D’Amelio

Fall Into Me by Mila Gray

Finding My Voice by Marie Myung-Ok Lee (reissue)

Finding a Way Home by Larry Dane Brimner

The Frozen Prince by Maxym M. Martineau (series)

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett (paperback)

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan (paperback, series)

Good Devils by Chris Lynch (series)

The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma (series)

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera (paperback, series)

It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

New Year’s Kiss by Lee Matthews (paperback)

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (series, paperback)

Ruinsong by Julia Ember

A Sky Beyond The Storm by Sabaa Tahir (series)

Tears of Frost by Bree Barton (paperback, series)

We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal (paperback, series)

What She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini (paperback)

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (paperback)

YA Book Talk at Book Riot

I’m obsessed with this feminist shirt reading “read books and smash the patriarchy.” $23. If this is up your alley, may I suggest a stroll through this guide to all things feminist gifts for book lovers?

As always, thanks for hanging out. We’ll see you again on Monday!

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