Carmela Iaria is the Executive Director of School and Library Marketing for Penguin Young Readers. She’s worked in children’s publishing for over 15 years and really loves kids’ books, so choosing 5 favorites was really hard.




janeExtraordinary Jane, by Hannah E. Harris

This was my very FIRST favorite picture book from Penguin Young Readers. I read it in my first month at Penguin, about one year ago, and was utterly delighted. The story is simple but charming, and the illustrations are darling. I immediately took it home to read to my two-year-old daughter.  And she LOVED it for many reasons…

Jane is an ordinary dog in an extraordinary circus. She isn’t strong, graceful, or brave like her family. But what she learns is that being herself – kind and loyal – makes her just as special.




Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

This review is courtesy of my colleague Venessa Carson, who chose it as a staff pick for our librarian newsletter last month – and sums up the beauty of the book so perfectly…

We should all ride the bus time and again with CJ and his Nana, simply to be reminded that there’s beauty all around us, most especially in the unexpected. “Crumbling sidewalks and broken-down doors, graffiti-tagged windows and boarded up stores.” CJ asks his grandma how come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.”

This award-winning pair of picture book collaborators, Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson, take readers on a trip through a vibrant urban town in LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET, reminding us to look on the bright side and to take in the charm and magic around us, no matter where we live in the world.


 Dory Fantasmagory, by Abby Hanlon

Every so often, I see a chapter book that demands to be recommended to scores of young readers. This is one of them! Dory is a lovably energetic little sister with a BIG personality—and an imagination to match. The writing is fresh, funny, and true (the author is a teacher and obviously pulls from the hilarity of every day life). The illustrations are irresistible and compliment the text perfectly. Stay tuned for more books in the series coming later this year!





Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson

Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’ Literature, Brown Girl Dreaming is one of the most stunning novels I have ever read. Beloved author Jacqueline Woodson shares the poignant, the gritty, and the sweet memories of her childhood—as well as revealing the first sparks that ignited her writing career—in these lyrical poems about growing up in the North and South. This book is for everyone: teachers, librarians, young readers, adult readers, audio book listeners, everyone. It will make you feel as you simultaneously admire the luminous language and radiant soul.



alexcrowThe Alex Crow, by Andrew Smith

My professor in college, Justin Cronin, taught me to love modular storytelling. To masterfully blend multiple storylines to tell one cohesive story with a powerful message is pure writing magic. Andrew Smith is a magician. The Alex Crow is the story of a fifteen year-old refugee from the Middle East who is the sole survivor of an attack on his village. Now living in Sunday, West Virginia his story is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic “melting” bomber and the diaries of a failed Arctic expedition from the late nineteen century. How will their lives converge?

As with Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner Grasshopper Jungle, Andrew Smith delivers a genre-bending literary piece of awesome that explores both the realities of our modern world and the absolutely absurd. It is surprising and smart and, perhaps most impressive of all, utterly original.


Find more books on the Young Readers page!

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Roshe Anderson works in Gotham and Avery Books. When she is not preparing recipe to-do lists from the cookbooks, she can be found reading other health and self-improvement books as well as fiction. She also enjoys exploring health-related topics on her blog.






The 52 New Foods Challenge, by Jennifer Tyler Lee

I love the simplicity of the recipes. Because the challenge encompasses taking on one new food a week, the recipes also cover a wide variety of whole foods. Whether or not you attempt to prepare all fifty-two foods, you will find the book to be a gentle guide, helping you take small steps toward what is often intimidating: trying something new. I have a list of recipes from the book which I am eager to make for the first time, including a simple butternut squash soup, pumpkin puree, and Jennifer’s version of an avocado-based chocolate pudding.



Simple Recipes for Joy, by Sharon Gannon

Imagine a summer salad with real flowers…The gorgeousness of the cover and the dishes within Simple Recipes is undeniable. Thus, food intertwined with Sharon’s philosophy of compassion make a strong impression. The passionate foreword written by Kris Carr, a well-known natural food advocate, adds an extra wow factor to what already feels like a work of art. For people who have been to Sharon’s restaurant, the Jivamuktea Cafe, this cookbook will feel like being let into a secret. The spirulina millet and “Spaghetti All’aglio e Olio” are among my favorite recipes. I look forward to making the “Brown Rice Salad” soon.



365 Vegan Smoothies, by Kathy Patalsky

365 is a non-prescriptive road map, helping you to enjoy the fun and creativity involved in making smoothies. All of the ingredients the author suggests are available at your local market. Kathy also offers advice on how to substitute one ingredient for another, further encouraging you to use what you have on-hand or experiment. The book is perfect for people like me, who would prefer that their nutrient-dense smoothies taste like cinnamon buns or decadent desserts.





The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon

Two words: overnight oats. I am addicted to the opening recipe which features uncooked oats soaked in plant-based milk. All of the dishes displayed in the book are stunning! Angela’s reputation as well as her commitment to reworking recipes and seeking approval from non-vegans reassures you that you are in good hands. Creative, smart snacks like “Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas” and vegan remakes of popular dishes like cookie dough make eating healthfully look really cool.





Success Through Stillness, by Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons explains the effects of stress in clear language, elucidating the connection between stress and brain chemistry. Russell’s goal to dispel the myth that one is simply not good at meditation struck a chord with me. The book offers real tools for persisting in the practice of meditation. Also, I loved Russell’s description of being focused on the process and the work rather than the success or the failure.





To find Health & Self-Improvement books, click here

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 

Meredith Dros

Executive Managing Editor/Publishing Manager: I am responsible for coordinating the editorial, production, copyediting, art, and design processes for seven imprints here at Penguin.








The Gods of Gotham, by Lyndsay Faye

Set in 1845 as new York City is forming its first police force, this is a detective story that has been compared (with good reason) to The Alienist. The story and the writing are that good.  







yardThe Yard, by Alex Grecian

It is the late 1880s in the newly formed Scotland Yard in London. A group of homicide detectives dubbed “The Murder Squad” must solve a bizarre string of crimes, where the latest target is one of their own.








The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

Stop what you are doing and read this book. Do it now. This is such an exciting, twisty, must-get-to-the next-page-to-see-what-happens novel. It starts with Rachel, who sees something terrible one day on her daily train commute. I’m not going to tell you anything else; you’ll see why.







Broken Harbor, by Tana French

Everyone has their own favorite Tana French novel, and this is mine. The setting is a half-finished development in the suburbs of Dublin left abandoned in the global economic crisis where a family is found murdered, and what looks like it should be an open-and-shut case turns out to be way more complicated.







The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters is on fire right now with her wonderful novel, The Paying Guests. I would invite you to take a stab at The Little Stranger. It is one of the creepiest, most mysterious books I have ever read.







Rules of Prey by John Sandford

I love John Sandford. In 2015, we will publish his 25th “Prey” novel, so I decided to go back and read the first one in the series where we first meet Minneapolis detective who plays by his own rules, Lucas Davenport. Rules of Prey is so scary because we get our hero’s point of view as well as the killer’s. Sleep with the lights on after reading this one.






Find more books on the Mystery & Suspense page!

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Anne Sowards

Anne Sowards is an Executive Editor at Ace and Roc. She taught herself to read at age 4, started with fairy tales, moved on to her dad’s science fiction collection, and hasn’t stopped since. She’s currently obsessed with Korean boy bands and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Find her on twitter as @AnneSowards.






Asking an editor to pick her favorite books is a bit like asking a parent to choose her favorite child. So I’m going old skool and sharing some of my favorite backlist titles with you. These are wonderful reads with strong resonance for me–some of the stories that stayed with me over the years.


Ariel, by Steven R. Boyett

I was absolutely obsessed with this book when I was a teenager and have reread it many, many times. It’s post-apocalyptic fantasy, about a young man struggling to survive in a world where technology no longer works…but magic does. As a fantasy reader, this story of what might happen if dragons and unicorns showed up in the “real” world fascinated me, and felt true to me on many levels.






The Once and Future King, by T. H. White

This is hands down one of the best King Arthur retellings ever. Ironically, I read a ton of King Arthur books before I read this one, and in fact resisted the lure of The Once and Future King for many years because I thought I was “tired of King Arthur stories”. When I finally read it, I was kicking myself for waiting so long to try this charming and delightful novel!






The Black Jewels Trilogy, by Anne Bishop

OK, I’m cheating a bit since this is an omnibus of the first three books in Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series, but they really do make up one epic storyline. With its dark tone and morally ambiguous heroes, Anne Bishop turned the tropes of fantasy upside down in this series, in a way that was groundbreaking for its time. It’s the story of Jaenelle, who as Witch, the most powerful magic-wielder in thousands of years, is destined to free and protect her people. And it’s also the story of Daemon Sa Diablo–the man who was born to be her lover. This is a sweeping, passionate, enthralling story; a page-turner well-worth reading.




Dune, by Frank Herbert

This is a classic science fiction novel for a reason. I first stole this from my dad’s bookshelf when I was too young to really understand all the nuances, but I persevered because of the amazing, epic storyline. It’s about so many things: adventure, politics, genetic breeding programs, prophecy, ecology…but as a starting point, it’s the story of Paul Atreides, the scion of an aristocratic house THAT RULES AN ENTIRE PLANET. (As a young person I was blown away by this idea.) It’s the kind of novel you will not be able to stop thinking about.




guilty pleasures

Guilty Pleasures, by Laurell K. Hamilton

This is the book that began my love for urban fantasy. I was always more of an epic fantasy girl–until I read this first entry in the Anita Blake series, about a woman who raises the dead and is also the legal vampire executioner in the state of Missouri. I’d never read anything like it before, and the way Laurell K. Hamilton integrated magic with modern-day life was groundbreaking–and hugely entertaining.





Find more books on the Science Fiction / Fantasy page!

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john cassidy

Manager, Online & Digital Sales










Napoleon, by Andrew Roberts

if you’re a sucker for a big, fat, epic biography on one of the greatest military and political minds of the past 500 years: here it is. Sure, there’s a lot of bios out there on Napoleon – but what makes this the edition you should read is because of Roberts’ incredible gift for storytelling and the extensive research he undertook: accessing more than 33,000 of Napoleon’s letters. What he presents is a totally new take on the general you thought you knew.




snowThe Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen

Peter Matthiessen’s catalog ranged from fiction to nature writing, to sociology; even memoir. All of it is good. But The Snow Leopard is the one you should read if you haven’t read him (or want to). You might think that a travel memoir/1st person history about a writer trailing a biologist in the Himalayan mountains to study a mysterious cat seems like a boring read; it’s anything but.






D-Day, by Anthony Beevor

Anthony Beevor’s incredible one-volume history on the battle of Normandy. In my opinion few historians can match Beevor’s gift for capturing the experience of battle: whether it be through the eyes of the grunts storming Omaha Beach; or all the way up the chain of command where a wrong decision ends up costing thousands of human lives. I learned so much from this book and after reading it had an incredible respect for any soldier that fought in this battle.





Meet Me in Atlantis, by Mark Adams

Where do you stand on the subject of Atlantis? You know, the possibly real / possibly made-up city-state-island of Ancient Greece that Plato wrote about, the one that sunk into the Mediterranean sea? You say: Just a Loch Ness-esque hype? Or are you a believer? Mark Adams gets to the bottom of the debate and seeks to uncover the truth once and for all in possibly one of the funniest and readable travelogues you’ll read this year.





Blood Aces, by Doug Swanson

Never heard of Bunny Binion? Well, then, you don’t know Las Vegas all that well, do you? Buckle up and let Swanson take you on wild ride of the life of racketeer turned Casino owner Binion, who put Sin City on the map, who created The World Series of Poker Tournament, and, a larger than life figure: “the most unforgettable character I ever met.” Corruption, violence, greed, redemption, gambling – this has it all!





Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

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christina brower

Christina Brower is an assistant editor at New American Library, where she happily edits romances and sci-fi/fantasy. In her other life, you can find her sitting in her favorite armchair with a cup of tea and a good book, or marathoning Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time. And despite a lifetime of looking, she has yet to find the door to Narnia.




Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris

New to the world of paranormal books and supernatural beings? Try the first book in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series on for size. When I first picked this book up, I had a hard time putting it down—and one week later I was four books into the series. It’s the perfect mixture of paranormal romance, mystery, and action with cast of enchanting characters to keep you entertained (and swooning). Really, it’s no wonder why this series is so popular.





Fireborn, by Keri Arthur

What, may you ask, could be better than a book paranormal about werewolves and vampires? A book about phoenixes. Now, I’m sure Keri Arthur isn’t the first author to pen a book about these supernaturals, but throw in some fascinatingly unique mythology, a different spin on vamps, and three strong fictional crush candidates, and you have one fiery series debut.






Avengers Heat, by Katie Reus

A wolfishly sexy read that will leave you howling for more! This was the first book I picked up by Katie, and I loved it so much that I went back and started the series from the beginning. Readers looking for a unique paranormal series, will find this one full of potential and brimming with sexual tension.







The Shadow Reader, by Sandy Williams

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of books about fae, but this one completely changed my mind. It’s almost impossible to review this book without gushing. For me, one of the hardest things I think an author can take on is writing a believable and engaging love triangle. If handled badly, it can ruin the whole story. Sandy Williams has not only written an excellent love triangle that will have readers torn, but an outstanding paranormal fantasy with an equally amazing heroine.




Find more books on the Paranormal page

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Things are slowing down here at Penguin Headquarters. Thinking about how fast 2014 has felt, I wonder as usual, where does the time go? This year has been full of exciting new launches: the new, Penguin Hotline, Beaks & Geeks podcast, Penguin tumblr, and this very blog. Time for some well-deserved R&R over the Holidays so we can return in 2015 refreshed and ready to get started on what’s next.

The Grand Master of Adventure himself, Clive Cussler, made an appearance on the Beaks & Geeks podcast. He was such a pleasure to interview: fascinating, intelligent, charming, and full of quips. His stories both on and off paper are thrilling, and we were lucky to have him on our program. Enjoy!


Earlier this month, I went on a wonderful vacation to Argentina & Uruguay. I had never been to South America before, and it was everything I had hoped for and more. Being a bookworm in Buenos Aires, my first tourist stop was El Ateneo. Once a theater in the 1900′s, this space was converted into a book store. Named the 2nd Best Bookshop in the World by The Guardian, Ateneo’s magnificent display of literature is not only difficult to process, but nearly impossible to photograph. Thank Apple for that panorama feature. Check out this glorious view.


And with that, I must bid you all adieu. This will be our last @TheOffice post of 2014. We Penguins will see you in 2015. Signing out of TheOffice…

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!


Looking for some new books to kick off the new year? Look no further – here’s a roundup of some of the most exciting new books of 2015 from different genres.



Blood-Drenched Beard, by Daniel Galera

“From Brazil’s most acclaimed young novelist, the mesmerizing story of how a troubled young man’s restorative journey to the seaside becomes a violent struggle with his family’s past”





Trust No One, by Jayne Ann Krentz

“Following up on the incredible success of River Road, New York Times–bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz delivers another masterpiece of romantic suspense.”





Hall of Small Mammals, by Thomas Pierce

“A wild, inventive ride of a short story collection from a distinctive new American storyteller.”





The Girl on the Train, by Paul Hawkins

“A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.”






The Carrier, by Sophie Hannah

“The latest in Sophie Hannah’s internationally bestselling Zailer & Waterhouse series, named by The Sunday Times as one of the 50 Best Thrillers of the Last Five Years”





West of Sunset, by Stewart O’Nan

“A ‘rich, sometimes heartbreaking’ (Dennis Lehane) novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last years in Hollywood”





When the Facts Change, by Tony Judt

“In an age in which the lack of independent public intellectuals has often been sorely lamented, the historian Tony Judt played a rare and valuable role, bringing together history and current events, Europe and America, what was and what is with what should be.”




Love and Friendship, by Jane Austen

“Austen’s hilarious early stories and sketches—complete with her delightfully quirky spelling habits—now collected in one gorgeous clothbound volume”






No Fortunate Son, by Brad Taylor

“In the latest military thriller from the retired Delta Force Operator and New York Times bestselling author, a hostage situation places America’s most powerful political elite at the mercy of its worst enemies.”





Cold Cold Heart, by Tami Hoag

“#1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag delivers a shocking new thriller”






Insatiable Appetites, by Stuart Woods

“Stone Barrington returns in the new action-packed thriller from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author.”





The Brain’s Way of Healing, by Norman Doidge M.D. 

“The New York Times bestselling author of The Brain That Changes Itself presents astounding advances in the treatment of brain injury and illness”




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Editor's desk photoOne of the greatest pleasures of my editorial career was introducing Mark Greaney to Tom Clancy. I knew that Tom needed a new co-author, and I was absolutely sure that Mark was the best fit. He is a dedicated researcher, brilliant writer and, not incidentally, a huge Clancy fan. I knew they would be a good match both professionally and personally. Indeed, they hit it off so well at their first face to face meeting that what was supposed to be a short meet and greet turned into a three hour conversation.

Their pairing led to three #1 New York Times bestselling novels. Rarely have I been this right about something. (Just ask my wife and kids).

So when, after Tom’s untimely passing, his family decided to continue the Jack Ryan saga, I knew that Mark was the right man for the job. While I had faith in him, I recognized that this was a daunting task. It’s one thing to work with the master, but striking out on your own with a character as iconic as Jack Ryan is a formidable challenge.

Once again, I’ve been proven correct (Take that wife and kids!). Full Force and Effect is a worthy successor to Tom’s own books. It’s a sprawling story of international intrigue with plenty of high tech action and a shockingly personal twist.

A new young leader has arisen in North Korea. Like his predecessors he plans to build his nation’s nuclear program, but unlike them he has an edge. A recent discovery of mineral wealth has given the Hermit Kingdom the money it needs to accelerate those efforts. In the Oval Office, President Jack Ryan recognizes both the danger posed by a nuclear armed Korea and the limits of his ability to respond without adequate intelligence. But how does one place an agent in the most closed society on Earth?

FullForce&EffectWe may have started this project with some trepidation, but Mark Greaney has more than risen to the challenge. His great respect for the classic characters of Tom Clancy shines through in this mesmerizing thriller. It’s my absolute pleasure to share it with you.



We’re in full swing for the holidays, with over 300 Penguin employees working hard making personal book recommendations on the Penguin Hotline!

As John said last week, we were delighted and amazed by the huge enthusiasm you all showed for this service.

I’ve been plugging away, sending out the emails from our employees to you. I’ve even gotten some good gift ideas just from reading the recommendations.

Just to give you an idea of how thoughtful and thorough our employees are, here’s an excerpt from one of the emails, sent by our own Farin:

Happy Holidays! Thank you for contacting the Penguin Hotline. I’m so excited to pass some great book recommendations your way!

I love knitting as well and swear by Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Halverson – the patterns are easy and beautiful and don’t take a million years to finish.

To satisfy your reader’s non-crafting reading interests, though, I highly recommend the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. It combines all the great elements of fantasy: supernatural beings (in this case, a witch and a vampire – but not the Twilight kind), time travel, a twisted villain, and a great love story. It’s one of my absolute favorite series. And if your reader loves Doctor Who, you will love Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – she actually took inspiration for her leading male character from a Highlander who appeared with the Second Doctor.

Finally, for historical fiction, there is no one better than Beatriz Williams, in my humble opinion, so I would definitely pick up The Secret Life of Violet Grant, which captures both 1960s New York and Berlin in 1914.

Happy reading and shopping!

Farin, Marketing

I’ll quit bragging about the Hotline now… and let a few other people do it for me! Look at the lovely things people have been saying on twitter:


There’s still time to ask for a personal book recommendation from the Penguin Hotline! The page is up until 12/23, for all you last minute shoppers. Let us dish about the books we think you and your giftees will love!