Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, my little book fans! It’s time new books! This Tuesday’s awesome new releases include Oh William!, the new novel by Elizabeth Strout and Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, a great horror novella. (If you like scary house stories, you’ll want to pick it up!) I’m also looking forward to reading Nina Simone’s Gum by Australian musician Warren Ellis.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Tirzah and I discussed Flowers for the Sea, This Is Our Rainbow, The White Ship, and more.

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

Cover of Little Thieves by Margaret Owen, featuring outline of girl in red in front of outlines of figures in gray

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

I talked about this on All the Books a couple weeks ago but then the release date got moved, so I am going to mention it again here, because it’s one of the best fantasy books of the year! It’s a a somewhat-retelling of the fairy tale The Goose Girl. Vanja, a young woman who was raised by Fortune and Death, became a servant and while in the employ of the princess, stole her magic necklace. Now Vanja appears as the princess, and while attending swanky events, she’s pulling off robberies to get enough money to split town. But when the princess’s betrothed and a hunter looking to get to the bottom of the crimes both show up, she thinks she’s got real trouble on her hands. But then a curse is placed on her where she starts to grow rubies on her face, and THAT is real trouble. This book is so inventive and fun and I loved it to pieces! (CW for child abuse and neglect, attempted assault, and violence.)

Backlist bump: The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow Series Book 1) by Margaret Owen

young black man in ancient egyptian garb standing in front of statue of anubis

The Shadow Prince by David Anthony Durham

And this is a really fun middle grade novel set in an alternate Egyptian universe. Ash is a regular kid growing up in Egypt, except for the part where he has a mentor who is training him for a secret purpose. On the eve of his twelfth birthday, he finds out what that is—to compete to be the protector of the prince. The contest is deadly, five days of dangerous tests, each overseen by a different Egyptian god, and not everyone will survive. But does Ash, who has been preparing for this moment all his life, have what it takes to become the Shadow Prince?

Backlist bump: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

illustration of hand with blue nail polish holding a glass of amber liquid

Girly Drinks: A Women’s History of Drinking by Mallory O’Meara

And last, but not least, a fun feminist look at women and the vital roles they played in the history of alcohol throughout the world. From the ancient Sumerian beer goddess Ninkasi up to the 20th century, O’Meara has created a fascinating look into what is historically depicted as a man’s enterprise. This is perfect for people who love to learn about rarely discussed history! (Full disclosure that Mallory is a friend of mine, but I promise the book is awesome regardless.)

Backlist bump: The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of Oddball: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen, featuring illustraion of woman with big eyes and black hair wearing a yellow striped sweater on a hill of flowers

Oddball: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen (Andrews McMeel Publishing, November 30)

I would be remiss not to point out that the amazing Sarah Andersen has another hilarious collection coming out, just in time for holiday shopping! Her delightful comics about being an introvert, owning cats, reading books, and more, are one of my very favorite things about the internet, and this might be the best collection yet. Also, be sure to check out her new comic, Cryptid Club, and don’t miss her amazing vampire/werewolf romance graphic novel, Fangs!

Backlist bump: Adulthood Is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen

orange cat lying upside down on a green chair

This week: I’m currently reading Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez, translated by Christina MacSweeney and I’m still working on The Book of Death in the Agent Pendergast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been rewatching Succession in preparation for the new season, and the song stuck in my head is In Luv With U by Finn. And as promised, here is a cat picture! As usual, Zevon is his relaxed self.


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, star bits! Who is ready for some new books?!? This Tuesday’s awesome new releases include The Brides of Maracoor by Gregory Maguire, the start of a new trilogy set in the Wicked universe; State of Terror, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first thriller written with co-author Louise Penny; the inspirational memoir Toufah: The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement by Toufah Jallow and Kim Pittaway; and On Animals by Susan Orlean, her first since The Library Book.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Vanessa and I discussed This Thing Between Us, The Book of Magic, The Apollo Murders, and more.

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

Mango Mambo and Murder cover image, featuring an illustration of a table in a sunny room with two fancy red drinks, one of which has fallen over and smashed, and a kitten sitting on a desk behind it

Mango, Mambo, and Murder (A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery) by Raquel V. Reyes

Because we went hard on the really scary books on this week’s episode of All the Books!, I thought it would be nice to include something cozier. So here’s the first in a new cozy mystery series! And it’s about food shows, which is my favorite setting in books this year. (So! Many! Food! Show! Books!) Cuban-American Miriam Quinones-Smith becomes the star of a food show when she and her family move from NYC to Miami. But when a socialite dies right in front of Miriam at a luncheon, followed by another suspicious death soon after, her best friend Alma is implicated in the crimes. Miriam is determined to clear Alma’s name, but snooping around trying to find the real killer may be a—wait for it—recipe for disaster. (Related: someone please hire me to write pun titles for cozy mysteries.)

Backlist bump: Death by Dumpling: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien

cover of The Best American Short Stories 2021 by Jesmyn Ward and Heidi Pitlor, featuring aerial view of several hardcover books standing on end

The Best American Short Stories 2021 (The Best American Series ®) edited by Jesmyn Ward and Heidi Pitlor

Vanessa covered the The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021 edition on the show this week, and I would be remiss not to shout out this edition here. Because the line-up of contributors is FIRE. There’s stories from C Pam Zhang, Brandon Hobson, Gabriel Bump, Kevin Wilson, Bryan Washington (related: have you seen the paperback cover of Memorial? UH-MAY-ZING), George Saunders, and more. Not to mention this year’s guest editor, the astounding Jesmyn Ward. I would put this on your gift list right now and get one for yourself, too!

Backlist bump: Everyday People: The Color of Life–a Short Story Anthology edited by Jennifer Baker

cover of Library by Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber, featuring several small squares of different colors with a hand-painted book in each one

Library by Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber

And here’s another fabulous book that will make a great gift. The description of this book calls Dumontier and Farber “two of Canada’s most influential contemporary artists.” I am sorry to admit I am not familiar with them, but I did love this book, so I will be sure to watch out for more from them! This is a collection of painted illustrations of books with hand-lettered covers featuring silly and sweet titles. Titles include “I Carved Your Name In a Tree Because I Love You, and I Hate Trees,” “I Wish I Had More Middle Fingers,” “Now Would Be a Good Time for a Joke,” and “Basic Human Confusion.” It’s a charming little art book that is sure to delight readers.

Backlist bump: Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James, featuring a car with its driverside door open in the rainy dark, with a big mansion in the background

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James (Berkley, March 15, 2022)

Are you ready to be scared? Well, sorry, you have to wait until March, my bad, I didn’t mean to tease you. But if your answer was ‘yes’ then mark this book down on your TBR now!

In the small town of Claire Lake, Oregon, Shea Collins is a receptionist at a doctor’s office and she also runs a website about cold cases. When Beth Greer, the acquitted suspect in the town’s forty-year-old unsolved Lady Killer case, crosses her path, Shea takes a chance and asks for an interview. And to her surprise, Beth says yes.

But Shea wonders, after decades of isolation in her family’s mansion, why did Beth decide to talk now? As Shea digs deep into the Lady Killer case, interviewing key players and researching old files, she learns some startling things. Readers are treated to alternating chapters set in the past, during the events of the case, where we learn about Beth and her arrest. And on top of that, we know that Shea also has a secret of her own she is hiding from everyone—she was abducted when she was nine, but managed to escape (it’s not a spoiler, it’s in the book’s description). Is her desperate need to get to the bottom of cold cases a way for her to avoid dealing with her own past? And is spending all her free time immersed in crime cases really helping her?

I loved this book! First off, it’s HELLA scary. I was not expecting that, but yep, I found myself reading it in the middle of the night with all the lights on. I thought the mysteries were fun, and I always love books that include plot lines involving technology and cold cases. This one will ring all your thriller bells!

(CW for child kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder, chemical use and abuse, car accidents, murder, police brutality, infidelity, mental illness, child endangerment, terror.)

an orange cat hanging its head over the side of a gray bookcase covered in stickers, with stickers all over the walls in the background

This week: I’m currently reading The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera and I’m still working on Dance of Death in the Agent Pendergast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been watching the new season of Bob’s Burgers and The Simpsons (meh) and the song stuck in my head is Ana Ng by They Might Be Giants. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Farrokh sleeps like this all the time. I don’t know how that can be comfortable—all the blood would rush to my head!


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

New Books for the First Tuesday of October!

Happy new release day to all who celebrate! Today was a bit of a weird first Tuesday, because I originally had a list of almost 150 titles. But because of all the shipping issues, so many books have had their release dates changed. So by the time I finished going through the list, I was left with half as many titles still coming out today. These date changes are no joke! But there are still a lot of great books out today (just not nearly as many that I have read now that I moved a bunch.)

Below, you’ll find titles (loosely) broken up into several categories, to make it easier for your browsing convenience. I hope you have fun with it! And as with each first Tuesday newsletter, I am putting a ❤️ next to the books that I have had the chance to read and loved.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Danika and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as Payback’s a Witch, Reprieve, Cackle, and more. Lots of great Halloween-y books for the season!

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

Biography and Memoir

cover of Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist by Sesali Bowen, featuring a tattooed black hand with pink nails holding cash

Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist by Sesali Bowen

Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef

The One You Want to Marry (And Other Identities I’ve Had): A Memoir by Sophie Santos

Greedy: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much by Jen Winston 

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl

Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America by Keisha N. Blain 

Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl ❤️

A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) by David Sedaris 

But You Seemed So Happy: A Marriage, in Pieces and Bits by Kimberly Harrington

A Tale of Two Omars: A Memoir of Family, Revolution, and Coming Out During the Arab Spring by Omar Sharif

Fiction

cover of Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo

Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo ❤️

Thieves, Beasts & Men by Shan Leah

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza 

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley 

A Time Outside This Time by Amitava Kumar

I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins ❤️

The Throwback List by Lily Anderson

This Is How I Disappear by Mirion Malle

Fight Night by Miriam Toews ❤️

My Famous Brain by Diane Wald 

cover of The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, featuring an old steam train in the distance

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles 

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

What Storm, What Thunder by Miryam A.J. Chanc

The Swank Hotel by Lucy Corin

Deadheading and Other Stories by Beth Gilstrap

Middle Grade

Children of the Fox (Thieves of Shadow Book 1) by Kevin Sands 

Fireborn by Aisling Fowler

Pencilvania by Stephanie Watson and Sofia Moore

Mystery and Thriller

cover of The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke, featuring a pentagram and a spiral staircase

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke 

1979 by Val McDermid

The Survivors by Alex Schulman

Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger

April in Spain by John Banville 

An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten, Marlaine Delargy (translator)

The Neighbor’s Secret by L. Alison Heller ❤️

The Savage Kind: A Mystery by John Copenhaver 

The House of Dust by Noah Broyles

In the Crypt with a Candlestick: A Mystery by Daisy Waugh

The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

Nonfiction

Such Color: New and Selected Poems by Tracy K. Smith , featuring a young Black boy reclining in the grass

Such Color: New and Selected Poems by Tracy K. Smith 

Truffle Hound: On the Trail of the World’s Most Seductive Scent, with Dreamers, Schemers, and Some Extraordinary Dogs by Rowan Jacobsen

Credible: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers by Deborah Tuerkheimer 

Say Their Names: How Black Lives Came to Matter in America by Curtis Bunn, Michael H. Cottman, Patrice Gaines, Nick Charles, Keith Harriston 

Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing Up with the AIDS Crisis edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott

Romance

cover of The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox, featuring cartoon of twin sissters under a christmas wreath

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox ❤️

Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper

A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli

Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond

Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Horror

Reprieve by James Han Mattson ❤️

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling ❤️

Cackle by Rachel Harrison ❤️

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow ❤️

Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi ❤️

The Original Glitch by Melanie Moyer

Search History by Eugene Lim

Young Adult

cover of Little Thieves by Margaret Owen, featuring outline of girl in red in front of outlines of figures in gray

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen ❤️

Briarheart by Mercedes Lackey

The Falling Girls by Hayley Krischer

The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros ❤️

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson ❤️

Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by Brandy Colbert

Crossbones by Kimberly Vale

I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas by Tiffany Schmidt 

Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones, Gilly Segal

cover of Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle, featuring cartoon of four young people standing in front of a full moon

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle ❤️

The Storm of Echoes: Book Four of the Mirror Visitor Quartet (The Mirror Visitor Quartet, 4) by Christelle Dabos and Hildegarde Serle (translator)

Everything Within and in Between by Nikki Barthelmess

When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles 


orange cat sleeping upside down on a lime green chair

This week: I’m currently reading Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez and I’ve moved on to Dance of Death in the Agent Pendergast series from Preston and Child. (I realized I keep calling him Pendergrast, I don’t know why.) Outside of books, I’m finishing up the latest season of The Great Pottery Throw Down, and the song stuck in my head is You Didn’t Know Me When by Harry Connick, Jr. And as promised, here is a cat picture! It’s just terrible that Zevon can never feel relaxed, don’t you think? 😉


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy new release day, my little book gourds! I am very excited about all of the incredible books out today. This Tuesday’s awesome new releases include A Calling for Charlie Barnes by Joshua Ferris, Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence by Anita Hill, and The Best American Poetry 2021 edited by Tracy K. Smith and David Lehman. I am wildly curious to get my hands on Unrequited Infatuations: A Memoir by Stevie Van Zandt—give me all that E Street Band and Sopranos hot goss! (Did you know his show Lilyhammer was Netflix’s first original content series???) I’m also excited to pick up a copy of It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherf**kers by Colin Nissan, because yes, yes it is. 🎃

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as Cloud Cuckoo Land, Light from Uncommon Stars, The Matzah Ball, and more.

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

Cover of Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo, featuring a human hand underwater wrapped in weeds reaching for a skeleton hand wrapped in weeds

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo

It’s always time for scary books, but it’s especially time right now, with Halloween only four-ish weeks away. This is a fantastic queer Southern Gothic about young man who travels to Nashville to find out why his best friend and soon-to-be roommate, Eddie, died by suicide. Andrew was supposed to join Eddie, but now he’s in a house with roommates he doesn’t know in an unfamiliar town. And worse, there are some scary secrets coming to light, and possibly something horrible haunting the house. Is Andrew now forever haunted? This one is going to slowly creep you out. (CW for racism and homophobia, trauma, grief, and suicide.)

Backlist bump: Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due

cover of Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray, featuring a hissing snake wrapped in ferns wrapped around the title

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

I don’t know about you, but I cannot get enough of the YA fantasy novels of the last few years. They are out of this world! This is another excellent one to add to the list. It’s about the Night Zoo, a place populated by magical creatures. Sixteen-year-old Koffi works at the Zoo as an indentured servant to pay her family’s debts, but when her family is threatened by the Zoo’s horrid boss, she accidentally conjures a power she didn’t know she had. Koffi is destined to cross paths with a young warrior, Ekon, and the two of them must team up to make sure their futures are safe. But their paths are fraught with danger and—wait for it—beasts of prey. (CW for kidnapping, enslavement, violence and gore, death, chemical use, mental illness, physical and verbal abuse, sexism, and murder.)

Backlist bump: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

cover of The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall, featuring an illustration of a young woman with a shaved head, wearing a purple robe and carrying a red book, and petting a goat

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall 

Okay, I know this is going to sound bananas, but this was my first Kate DiCamillo! I am familiar with all her backlist, but somehow have never read any of them. So I have to say, this is a great place to start because it’s a wonderful book! It’s about a young girl who mysteriously appears at the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing monastery. It turns out her name is Beatryce, and she holds many stories within her, and is sought by the King, because of a prophecy. Beatryce knows that her existence at the monastery puts everyone in danger, so she must figure out how to stop the King. It has amazing stories-within-stories, lots of action and adventure, and one great goat named Answelica. And it includes lovely illustrations by Sophie Blackall.

Backlist bump: The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz and Hatem Aly

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of Memphis by Tara Stringfellow, featuring illustrations of four Black women sitting amongst grass and flowers

Memphis by Tara Stringfellow (The Dial Press, March 1, 2022)

THIS NOVEL. It will destroy you, so get ready for that. This is one of the best debut novels I have read in a long, long time, but please be ready, because it is filled with hard, heartbreaking subject matter.

The focus of the novel is three generations of Black women in a Southern family. Told over seventy years, it’s about these strong women, with Joan at the center of the narration. A young girl when her mother flees Joan’s abusive father with her younger sister, they wind up back at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis, living with her aunt and cousin. Each of them has a trauma they are dealing with, and they learn to trust and depend on each other and the other women in their neighborhood to help them heal, including a neighbor with a gift for curses.

Told back in forth in time, we also learn about Joan’s ancestors and their hopes and hardships. It’s set against the backdrop of history from the segregated South, to the assassination of Martin Luther King, to 9/11. It is an astounding gut-punch of a book, and all of the characters are so real and the story unfolds perfectly. They have hopes and dreams in the face of impossibilities, and make mistakes and try again, and you can’t help but cheer them on. I am not doing this novel justice, so you’re just going to have to trust me that it is amazing.

(CW for mentions of racism and racialized violence and murder, partner abuse, sexual assault of a child and an adult, war violence, terrorist violence, illness, death, loss of a parent, loss of a spouse, and police violence.)

orange cat sitting on a blue blanket like a human. photo by Liberty Hardy

This week: I’m currently reading Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp and I’ve moved on to Brimstone in the Agent Pendergrast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been watching the new season of Nailed It!, and the song stuck in my head is Frying Pan by Evan Dando. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Zevon cannot seem to relax like a cat. He thinks he’s a person. ❤️


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Welcome back, book fans! It’s another amazing day in the Land of New Releases. Today’s awesome new releases include The Bronzed Beasts, the final book in Roshani Chokshi’s Gilded Wolves trilogy; Room to Dream, a new Front Desk novel by Kelly Yang; and Bewilderment by Richard Powers, which is on both the recently announced Booker Prize shortlist and the National Book Award longlist. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine. And a big shout-out to Rioter Karina Yan Glaser, whose fifth Vanderbeeker book, The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish, is also out today!

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Tirzah and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as All These Bodies, The Body Scout, The Book of Form and Emptiness, and more.

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

cover of Pump: A Natural History of the Heart by Bill Schutt, featuring an illustration of a human heart and the word 'pump' over and over

Pump: A Natural History of the Heart by Bill Schutt

Humans have been around for a lonnnnnnnng time, but we’re only been making major medical progress for a fraction of that. One of the major parts of the body we continue to tinker with is the heart. Schutt is a natural when it comes to writing about science and history, and this is another fascinating book about a part that everyone has, and everyone needs, but few of us understand. I was so pumped to read it. (Sorry, not sorry.)

Backlist bump: Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt (Related: did you see my cannibalism piece?)

cover of the insiders by mark oshiro, a yellow cover with three cartoon children running through open doors

The Insiders by Mark Oshiro

And here’s a new addition for the fantastic middle grade category! For Héctor Muñoz, being gay at his school in San Francisco didn’t mean he was made to feel different. But at his new school in Orangevale, he is being bullied, and feels alone and helpless. Then one day, while trying to hide, he discovers a room at the back of the janitor’s closet. The room is magic, and brings him to other kids in other parts of the country who also don’t feel like they fit in. Time never moves inside the room, so they can hang out as much as they want, and the kids help each other come up with solutions to their problems. It’s an excellent story about friendship and fitting in. (CW for bullying, racism, gaslighting, and homophobia.)

Backlist bump: Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

cover of The Tensorate Series by Neon Yang, featuring a dragon and fire surrounded by Chinese symbols

The Tensorate Series by Neon Yang

And I love these fantasy novellas so much, I needed to shout them out again, now that they’re available in one super edition! They have been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, and Lambda Literary Awards. There are sibling heirs to an empire raised by monks, flying monsters, battles, scary monsters, and more. Staged in unique settings, the novellas in this collection are wildly imaginative and beautifully realized. The first two reminded me a bit of the land of Monstress, which I also highly recommend. (CW for physical violence and abuse, illness, war, animal death, death of a loved one, and death of a child.)

Backlist bump: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett, blue with cartoon foxes and white dogs all over it

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett Ballantine Books, April 12, 2022)

Have you been dying to read a new John Irving novel? Have you been looking for something like Nothing Here to See Here by Kevin Wilson? Then get ready, because this fantastic novel is the perfect book for you!

The main character is Emma, a young woman born in a small New Hampshire town with the ability to heal people with a touch of her hands. However, her parents don’t want her to become a sideshow act, so they forbid her from using it. But they still want her to heal people in other ways, so they encourage her to go to school to become a doctor, even though Emma herself isn’t sure that’s what she wants.

At the start of the novel, Emma gets a call that her father, Clive, is dying from a brain disease. The doctors aren’t sure what it is, but he’s been losing his memory, he hallucinates animals, and he talks to the ghost of a New Hampshire naturalist who died a century earlier. Emma thinks her mother asked her to come home so she can heal Clive with her hands, but it has been so long since she tried to use her gift, she’s not even sure if it will still work. But between looking after Clive, who is getting harder to manage, and Emma’s younger brother, who is home from his most recent rehab stay, her mother could use the help.

But this is just a tiny fraction of the plot of Unlikely Animals. There’s also a storyline about Emma’s missing childhood friend (who the police have written off because of her drug use), a private plot of land used for hunting by millionaires, an expensive fox, a classroom of earnest middle grade students, an amateur theater production, and much more. Plus, the narrators of the novel stole my heart. But they’re not mentioned in the book’s description, so I won’t spoil them for you.

This book is sweet and sad, but also so, so funny. I desperately want to see these characters brought to life on a screen in some capacity. Or even have a sequel, if such a thing could happen. 10/10, would read again!

(CW for mentions of chemical use and abuse, animal death, illness and death of a loved one, violence and bodily harm, mental illness, and infidelity.)

two orange cats, one sitting in a silver bowl in front of a red microwave, the other on the table in front. photo by Liberty Hardy

This week: I’m currently reading Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto and I’ve moved on to The Cabinet of Curiosities in the Agent Pendergrast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been giving my brain a break from television, and the song stuck in my head is I Love It Loud by Kiss. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Farrokh and Zevon, chilling in the kitchen. ❤️


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, star bits! Thank you to all you nice people who have reached out about the updates and changes to New Books. I am very excited about them, too! And speaking of exciting, today’s new releases include the new Colson Whitehead novel Harlem Shuffle (mentioned on the podcast), a new book from Mary Roach (see below), and Gabrielle Union’s new memoir-in-stories You Got Anything Stronger?

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Vanessa and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as Harlem Shuffle, The Corpse Queen, White Smoke, and more.

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

cover image of Fuzz- When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach showing an iron on patch with a bear, a cougar, and an elephant

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach

It has been a while since we’ve heard from Mary Roach, but she is back with her wry writing and humorous observations. This time, she investigates the consequences that befall animals and nature that behaves badly. She travels around the world and interviews several experts in human-animal conflict. What happens to the animals who attack? Who polices them? And are animals really the problem, or are humans at fault most of the time? (Spoiler: It’s the humans.) This book is fascinating and I enjoyed reading Roach’s writing as always, but there are two things I do want to mention. 1) The UK title of this book is Animal, Vegetable, Criminal, which is a much more awesome title and 2) a heads-up that although some of the nature mishaps are humorous, there are serious and sometimes fatal consequences for a lot of the creatures in this book, and as someone who is sensitive to animal death, it was hard to read about.

Backlist bump: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

cover of Assembly by Natasha Brown, featuring several straight lines and one that looks as though it is burnt

Assembly by Natasha Brown

This slim, powerful debut is narrated by an unnamed Black woman, facing a health crisis, who is getting ready to attend a lavish garden party at her white boyfriend’s family estate in the English countryside. But this might just be the day she takes a stand against the barrage of tokenism, misogyny, micro-aggressions, sexism, and racism she has had to deal with on a daily basis, in her work at an investment firm, out in public, and in her personal life. She will decide what is worth keeping and how to put her own needs first in this sharp, explosive punch of a novella.

Backlist bump: Luster by Raven Leilani

cover of Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson and Jay Cooper, featuring oen and ink illustration of a quaint village, with a pair of shoes sticking out from behind a building

Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson and Jay Cooper

So yes, Vanessa talked about this one on the podcast, but I wanted to also mention it here. Because I cannot stress enough how you should get this now if you want it for yourself or to give as a gift, because it’s going to be impossible to find around the holidays. It’s a delightfully macabre little book, taking all the tropes of quaint English villages in cozy murder mysteries, and explaining them like a guide book. You’ll learn all the places, people, and objects to avoid if you want to keep from getting murdered. (Spoiler: it’s all of them.) And Cooper deftly illustrates NYT bestselling author Johnson’s hilarious text.

Backlist bump: The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer, featuring cartoon illustrations of a woman in a blue dress, a man in a tux, and several Hanukkah-themed designs

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer (MIRA, September 28)

I talked about this one several months ago in the Book Radar, but I thought it was worth revisiting since we’re only two weeks away from the pub date and I just heart it so freaking hard.

This delightful romantic comedy of errors is about a Jewish woman who is a successful author—not that anyone else knows that besides her agent and her publisher. See, Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt really, really loves Christmas. Like, has a whole room in her house dedicated to Christmas decorations year-round. But she’s also the daughter of one of New York’s most respected rabbis, and she doesn’t think her parents would be happy to know their daughter writes bestselling Christmas romance novels, so they are published under a pseudonym.

Rachel’s secret life as an author has been treating her really well for years now. She makes enough money to have a fabulous Manhattan apartment, and she is able to work from home, which is helpful, because Rachel has a chronic illness that often makes it hard for her to go out. (She has myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome as it is commonly known, as does the author Meltzer, who offers more information about it in the afterword.) But then Rachel’s publisher blindsides her: they don’t want anymore Christmas romances—they want her to write a Hanukkah romance novel instead.

Rachel is distressed—what is romantic and magical about Hanukkah, she cries? But then she learns about The Matzah Ball, a swanky charity event held on the last night of Hanukkah. Maybe that’s where she’ll get her inspiration! But there’s a catch (there’s always a catch). Jacob Greenberg, who broke Rachel’s heart at summer camp many years ago, is the brains behind The Matzah Ball.

But Rachel really needs inspiration if she’s going to continue writing books for her publisher, so she swallows her pride and asks Jacob for a ticket. Unfortunately, there’s a problem: the event is sold out. But he tells her she can attend if she first agrees to volunteer to help set up the event. So she does, and as she spends more time with Jacob, old feelings return. But so do misunderstandings and hijinks (that will make you actually LOL.) Is Rachel’s humiliation and heartbreak worth the material for a book? Or will Rachel end up with a real-life holiday romance?

As I said, this book is so delightful! Rachel is awesome. She’s smart, funny, and takes no guff. I liked that the conflict between Rachel and Jacob when they were young felt real, not just an excuse to break them apart. I think it’s hard sometimes with HEAs to come up with a good reason to split characters up. It’s also a really, really funny book! If you love charming romance novels, or just like fun, this is a wonderful book for readers year-round.

(CW for mentions of chronic illness, cancer, and loss of a parent.)

orange cat sleeping on a fuzzy fluorescent pink chair, photo by Liberty Hardy

This week: I’m currently reading The League of Gentlewomen Witches by India Holton and All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir, and I’ve moved on to Reliquary in the Agent Pendergrast series from Preston and Child. Outside of books, I have been giving my brain a break from television, and the song stuck in my head is American Music by Violent Femmes. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Zevon is 30% feet, at least.


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

New Books for the First Tuesday of September!

Hooray, it’s the first Tuesday of the month—that means LOTS of new books. In the past, I have done a giant megalist. But as fun as it is to share so many titles, I have decided to streamline it a little bit. Now, below, you’ll find titles (loosely) broken up into several categories, to make it easier for your browsing convenience. I hope you have fun with it! And as with each first Tuesday newsletter, I am putting a ❤️ next to the books that I have had the chance to read and loved.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Danika and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as Matrix, We Are Not Broken, The Girls Are Never Gone, and more.

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

Biography and memoir:

cover of Poet Warrior: A Memoir by Joy Harjo, blue with a native beadwork design

Poet Warrior: A Memoir by Joy Harjo

Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang ❤️

Brothers on Three: A True Story of Family, Resistance, and Hope on a Reservation in Montana by Abe Streep 

American Time Bomb: Attica, Sam Melville, and a Son’s Search for Answers by Joshua Melville

Forever Young: A Memoir by Hayley Mills

Code Name Badass: The True Story of Virginia Hall by Heather Demetrios

Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Story of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood by Dawn Turner ❤️

We Are Not Broken by George M Johnson 

Fiction:

cover of Matrix by Lauren groff, featuring wavy gold lines radiating out of the center

Matrix by Lauren Groff ❤️

The Archer by Shruti Swamy 

Dante’s Indiana by Randy Boyagoda 

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón 

The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All by Josh Ritter ❤️

Martita, I Remember You/Martita, te recuerdo by Sandra Cisneros and Liliana Valenzuela

Fault Lines by Emily Itami ❤️

The Magician by Colm Toibin

A Play for the End of the World by Jai Chakrabarti 

Cover of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova ❤️

Imminence by Mariana Dimópulos, Alice Whitmore (Translator)

The War for Gloria by Atticus Lish ❤️

Inseparable: A Never-Before-Published Novel by Simone de Beauvoir, Sandra Smith  (Translator

How to Wrestle a Girl: Stories by Venita Blackburn ❤️

In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström

The Royal Correspondent by Alexandra Joel

History:

cover of Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption, featuring cutout of shakespeare's eyes in the shape of a feather

Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption by Robert McCrum

People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present by Dara Horn

Beasts Before Us: The Untold Story of Mammal Origins and Evolution by Elsa Panciroli

Cuba: An American History by Ada Ferrer

Middle grade:

The Midnight Brigade by Adam Borba ❤️

Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero by Saadia Faruqi

Willodeen by Katherine Applegate

Mystery and thriller:

cover of Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreight, red with white font

Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreight ❤️

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian 

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Miss Kopp Investigates by Amy Stewart

The Chuckling Fingers by Mabel Seeley ❤️

The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin

Nonfiction:

cover of Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel, blue with white and gold font

Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel 

On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint by Maggie Nelson

The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whiteley

Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally by Emily Ladau

The Breaks: An Essay by Julietta Singh ❤️

Unfollow Me: Essays on Complicity by Jill Louise Busby

Romance:

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale

Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes by Alexa Martin

Sci-fi, fantasy, and horror:

Cover of No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ❤️

The Peculiarities by David Liss

Grievers by adrienne maree brown

Among Thieves by M. J. Kuhn

The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw ❤️ 

Young adult:

The Problem with the Other Side by Kwame Ivery

Battle of the Bands edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith

cover of a clash of steel by c.b. lee

A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix by C.B. Lee

Hello (From Here) by Chandler Baker and Wesley King

Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez 

Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn

So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow

Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh ❤️


orange cat sleeping in a tan bed

This week: I’m currently reading The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas and I’ve set my Stephen King reread aside for now to start the Agent Pendergrast series, because I read Bloodless and it was so bananapants, I must read more! Outside of books, I’m enjoying the latest episodes of The Great Pottery Throw Down, and the song stuck in my head is The Funeral by Band of Horses. And as promised, here is a cat picture! I love how Farrokh looks so absolutely done with everything. Also, I ❤️ his enormous mitts!


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, book lovers! Who is excited for new books? *raises arms and gesticulates wildly* It is a five-Tuesday month this month, which means a whole extra day of new releases! In today’s exciting releases by Book Rioter’s favorite authors, there’s a new Stephen Graham Jones (which you can hear about on today’s All the Books!) a new Rachel Howzell Hall, and a new Helen Hoang! And The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins has a new book called A Slow Fire Burning.

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as My Heart is a Chainsaw, Fast Pitch, Revelator, and more.

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

In the Watchful City cover

In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu

This is a wildly imaginative Asian-inspired novella set in the future. In the city of Ora, the citizens are watched over by a complex living network called the Gleaming and cloistered extrasensory humans. When a stranger comes to Ora, Anima, one of those extrasensory humans, discovers there’s a whole wide world of wonders outside of Ora. Is the city keeping its citizens safe by hiding things from them? What is the point of the Gleaming, if it hinders as much as it helps?

CW for on-page suicide and self-harm.

Backlist bump: The Tensorate Series by Neon Yang

The Heart Principle book cover

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang 

The third book in the Kiss Quotient series is finally here! After violinist Anna Sun’s longterm boyfriend tells her he wants an open relationship, she decides she’s going to pursue other partners as well. Anna is already stressed from new-found fame, and she thinks maybe a series of one-night stands might be just what she needs to let off some steam. When she decides tattooed bad boy Quan Diep will be perfect for the job, their attempts at casual sex keep failing, possibly because they subconsciously realize they both deserve more. And when tragedy strikes in Anna’s life, she’ll learn who really has her back. This is a heavier book than the first two in the series, but it’s still full of heart, charm, and emotional depth, and—of course—sexy times. And like most romance series, you don’t have to have read previous books to enjoy this one.

CW for illness, loss of a loved one, bullying, suicidal ideation, and emotional abuse.

Backlist bump: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

cover of The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson, a periwinkle blue cover with large white font, with people and books standing on the letters

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

A shy librarian is forced to find her voice when the library where she works is threatened with closure. June Jones has been happily hiding behind the stacks in the library in the small English village where she grew up. And she’s sure this is where she’ll always stay, having taken the role after the loss of the town’s previous librarian, June’s mother. But when it looks like the library might be shut down, June realizes she’s going to have to fight to keep the library open. Helping June is her old school friend, Alex, who is now a lawyer, and is happy to help June fight the closure. Especially since he’s soooooo into her. This is a charming ode to books and book lovers, as well as a sweet story with some good chuckles about standing up for what you believe in.

CW for illness and loss of a loved one.

Backlist bump: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal, featuring a view of Paris rooftops through a balcony window

The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal

This is going to be one of the big book club books of 2022. I cannot stress enough how bewitching I found this brilliantly plotted novel about au pairs in Paris. If you enjoyed Big Little Lies, you will doubly love this novel! At the beginning of the book, we learn that a child has died and his au pair has been arrested. But what really happened? The story then goes back in time with several different characters over the course of a few months, as well as diving deep into their pasts. And as we hear from one character after another, we get a sense of events from several perspectives.

This isn’t a thriller, or even really a mystery novel. It is an intricate tale of six women searching for happiness and love, and working hard for their families and to achieve their dreams. Some are running from their past, some are trying to find their way, and some are stuck in the present. We hear from three au pairs, as well as the mother of the child who died, his older sister, and the woman who teaches French to the au pairs. It’s an absolutely stunning debut novel about class and identity, and so expertly executed. It’s devastating and captivating.

CW for chemical use and abuse, illness, loss of a loved one, infidelity, partner abuse, terrorist violence, vehicular accident and injuries, suicidal thoughts, child endangerment and death.

an orange cat curled up in a silver bowl

This week: I’m currently reading Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi and I’ve moved on to The Long Walk in my Stephen King reread. Outside of books, I’m enjoying the latest episodes of Ted Lasso (Roy Kent is the BEST and that phone gag might be the best thing I’ve seen in a long time), and the song stuck in my head is Camel Walk by Southern Culture on the Skids. And as promised, here is a cat picture! One giant bowl of Zevon, coming right up!


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

It’s Tuesday again, and I am so happy to be here again with all my bookish friends! How are you all doing today? It’s another great day in new book release paradise. Feral Creatures, the sequel to Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton is out today, and my new favorite Instagram comic has its first collection out: Dinosaur Therapy by James Stewart and K Roméy. Plus there’s new books from Louise Penny and Sarah MacLean. And I want to get my hand on the children’s book about Guillermo del Toro: Kid del Toro (Lil’ Libros) by Chogrin Muñoz and Pakoto Martinez. (Have you ever seen The Devil’s Backbone? SO SCARY.)

And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as Feral Creatures, Bad Witch Burning, Seeing Ghosts: A Memoir, and more.

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

cover of erin's diary: an official derry girl's book. cover is red with an image  of the cast of Derry Girls in the middle, with bubbly font and hearts and rainbows drawn around it

Erin’s Diary: An Official Derry Girls Book by Lisa McGee  

It’s finally available on this side of the pond. If you love Derry Girls, the show about five Catholic high school students and their families set amid the political conflict of Northern Ireland in the 1990s, then you will definitely love this book! It is jammed packed with images of the show, with hilarious diary entires from Erin, written by the show’s creator, plus Erin’s doodles and poetry and illustrations. It will help get you through the long wait for season 3 of Derry Girls, which isn’t expected until at least 2022. Another way to occupy the time is to look up the actual ages of the actors playing teenagers (WOW), watch Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton, and check out Siobhan McSweeney on the most recent season of The Great Pottery Throw Down.

Backlist bump: The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

cover of The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers; cover is orange with an illustration of a yellow tree and a yellow sun above it, and the outline of eyes, nose, and mouth shaped like grey clouds behind it

The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

This is an amazing, sprawling epic, following generations of a Black family from the early 1700s to present day. It is a strong novel about the women of this family and the trauma and hardships they endure. The main focus of the book is Ailey Garfield, a young Black woman who grows up in the northern part of the country with her parents and two sisters. This novel is a powerful look at racism, slavery, trauma, family, friendship, and more. The book is so big, I feel it difficult to write more about the plot succinctly, but please don’t let my failings—or the book’s 800 pages!—dissuade you from picking it up. It’s full of history and mentions of important works, and is sure to be on a lot of 2021’s best books of the year lists!

(CW for racism and racialized violence, sexism, violence, sexual violence, death, and more.)

Backlist bump: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

cover of Bombshell: A Hell's Belles Novel by Sarah MacLean , featuring a white woman with dark brown hair and a red dress standing at the bottom of a staircase

Bombshell: A Hell’s Belles Novel by Sarah MacLean 

And perennial Book Riot favorite Sarah MacLean is back with the first in a fabulous, feminist series of romance and intrigue. I can’t say too much about it without spoiling it, so you’re going to have to trust me. I can tell you it’s about a young woman named Lady Sesily Talbot, who uses her scandalous reputation to her advantage to do…not what you would expect. And there’s Caleb Calhoun, a young man who has tried to resist his attraction for her, but is failing. It’s saucy and super smart, with hot sexy times on the page! You can always count on MacLean for a great read. Bring on the next book, please!

Backlist bump: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean.

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor, featuring a b&w image of a woman dressed in 1920s garb, with long evening gloves and a bob surrounded by a gold art deco border

Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor (Harper Perennial, January 4, 2022)

Okay, I am going to start out this recommendation by saying something that always surprises people, but it is what it is: I don’t find The Great Gatsby interesting. And that’s okay! Not every book is for every person. I do, however, like Jillian Cantor, so I went ahead and read this novel anyway…and I think it’s excellent! She has taken the women of The Great Gatsby, maybe changed the end of Fitzgerald’s classic, and made an excellent historical mystery!

First you need to remember spoilers for a century-old classic: At the end of The Great Gatsby, George Wilson kills Jay Gatsby and then himself. But in Beautiful Little Fools, a detective finds a diamond pin in the bushes by the pool, and has a strong suspicion that the shootings didn’t go down the way they first appear to have happened. His suspects: Daisy Buchanan, known love of Jay Gatsby; her best friend, the golf pro Jordan Baker; and Catherine McCoy, suffragette and sister-in-law of the deceased Tom Wilson.

Told in alternating chapters between the three women and the investigating detective, this is a Jazz Age mystery of romance and betrayal that looks at Jay and Daisy’s early romance, Jordan’s time on the golf circuit, and Catherine’s fights for women’s freedom and independence. And it teases the question: what really happened at Gatsby’s pool? I really dug it. I thought Cantor did an excellent job staying true to these characters while giving the story an updated feel, and I found the story compelling and believable.

(CW for mentions of sexism, homophobia, chemical use and abuse, abuse by a partner, war, sexual assault, car accident violence, and murder.)

an orange cat sitting on a speaker in front of a large decal of a bull shark

This week: I’m currently reading Memphis by Tara Stringfellow, and I still have to finish Night Shift in my Stephen King reread. (While fun, this reread is not a top priority.) Outside of books, I just watched all of the episodes of Housebroken that are available, which I found okay but think it has more potential, and the song stuck in my head is Drive by R.E.M. And as promised, here is a cat picture! “It’s right behind me, isn’t it?” —Farrokh


Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️

Categories
New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, book lovers, and a big welcome to all the people joining me from Book Radar for the first time! To celebrate this new change in my work schedule, I have added a couple new bits to the bottom of the newsletter. You’ll now find the “On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!” section, where I’ll included an upcoming book each week that I have read and loved. (You know how I can never talk enough about books!) You’ll also find a cat picture, and some other miscellany. I’m also thinking of overhauling the monthly megalist, so WATCH THIS SPACE.

Moving on to today’s books: I am excited to get my hands on several new releases. At the top of my to-buy list are Cazadora (Wolves of No World) by Romina Garber and Sometimes I Trip On How Happy We Could Be by Nichole Perkins. And speaking of today’s great books, for this week’s episode of All the Books! Tirzah and I discussed some of the wonderful books that we’ve read, such as Velvet is the Night, Never Say You Can’t Survive, Chasing the Boogeyman, and more.

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

cover of All In: An Autobiography by Billie Jean King, featuring a black and white photo of the author mid-tennis match

All In: An Autobiography by Billie Jean King

I was really interested to read this memoir, mostly because I really knew nothing about Billie Jean King (probably because when I was little, the Billie Jean I was into was the 1985 Legend of Billie Jean movie). This is King’s story of her life as a groundbreaking, world class athlete, and champion not only of tennis but many important causes, such as civil rights, feminism, and LGBTQ rights. She discusses her many public moments, such as her “Battle of the Sexes” match with Bobby Riggs, her eating disorder, the nonstop sexism on the circuit, and coming out at age fifty-one. It’s a fascinating look into the life of a legend.

Backlist bump: Seeing Serena by Gerald Marzorati

cover of Redemptor (Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, featuring a head and shoulders illustration of a young Black woman wearing a spiky silver crown

Redemptor (Raybearer Book 2) by Jordan Ifueko

Yes, this is a sequel, but the first book, Raybearer, is so freaking good that I had to draw your attention to it again. I mean, this one is also fantastic, but let me tell you about Raybearer, in case you haven’t read it yet. Tarisai was raised in isolation from a young age, kept away from other people and her town, and looked after by servants. She occasionally sees her mother, a distant and cold woman called The Lady, who is waiting for Tarisari to be old enough so she can send her to be one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. Once this happens, The Lady can start dismantling their rule from the inside, or so she thinks. She wants Tarisari to kill the Crown Prince. But when the time comes to move to the kingdom and put her mother’s plan in motion, Tarisari discovers she likes her time at the palace, and the people around her. Will she follow her mother’s orders, or learn to stand on her own?

Backlist bump: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

cover of The Smashed Man of Dread End by J.W. Ocker, featuring an illustarton of several children looking down the open bulkhead doors into a dark basement

The Smashed Man of Dread End by J.W. Ocker

And last, but not least, here is a delightful—and scary!—book about a young girl whose family moves to a new home, and she discovers there is something terrible in the basement. Noe isn’t thrilled about having to change homes or schools, but it might help her to put a terrible slumber party incident behind her. On her first day at her new home, the neighborhood children warn her not to go in the basement, but Noe is a sleepwalker, and awakens mid-stroll to find herself down there anyway. And what she sees is the stuff of nightmares! (I don’t want to tell you what it is because I thought the monster was SO creepy and effective!) It’s up to Noe and the other neighborhood kids to figure out a way to rid their cul-de-sac of evil once and for all. But can they do it? This is a fun Stranger Things-esque scary middle grade story. I am not usually a fan of parents not believing children when they tell them something is wrong, but the point of this monster is that only children can see it, so it adds an extra scary layer to the story!

Backlist bump: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

On your mark…get set…add to your TBR!

cover of Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, featuring illustration of a Black woman, with four more Black women standing far back behind her profile

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (Pamela Dorman Books (January 18, 2022)

If you want something funny, smart, and wonderful to read, then January can’t come soon enough for you! This is a delightful Bridget Jones-ish story about Yinka, an Oxford-educated British Nigerian woman who believes in true love, even if it means waiting a long time to find it. Unfortunately, her meddling mother and aunties don’t think it’s happening fast enough. Yinka’s sister is having a baby and her cousin just got engaged, and it has really turned the heat up on Yinka, whose family literally prays that she finds a husband. Her family makes Yinka feel bad about herself, and it frustrates her.

Yinka is happy to have her career and her freedom, but does think that finding someone to love would be nice. She recently got out of a relationship, and her heart is still bruised. She’s not thrilled with her family trying to set her up with strangers, but she’d really like a date to her cousin’s upcoming wedding—especially since she found out her ex is going to be there. So she decides she’s going to go about finding a boyfriend the smart way: with a spreadsheet. But life has a way of surprising you, even when you think you have it all planned out.

This is an utterly charming novel full of heart. I loved the witty banter, especially with her would-be suitors, and I loved Yinka’s best friend Nana. The book is peppered with text messages and actual spreadsheets. And like Bridget Jones, there are a lot of funny, awkward mishaps, but there’s also an important message about societal and cultural pressures and independence. Hooray for Yinka!

(CW for mentions of infidelity, racism, death of a family member, body shaming, and disordered eating.)

an orange cat sitting in a large silver mixing bowl and leaning heavily to out one side

This week: I’m currently reading Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose by T.A. Willberg and I’ve made it to Night Shift in my Stephen King reread. Outside of books, I’m rewatching Veep, I’ve gotten back into cryptograms, and the song stuck in my head is Ring the Bells by James. And as promised, here is a cat picture! Just when you think Zevin sitting in a bowl can’t get any sillier, he leans out the side.

Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty ❤️