It is officially summer in New York City! And with that comes ice cream as a perfectly acceptable choice for lunch, iced coffee with breakfast, lunch and dinner, long searches for the best beach book, stay-cations and vacations alike, and all of the other wonderful things that the warm weather brings.

I hope everyone had a lovely July 4th, and while it was raining on Friday out on the North Fork of Long Island (where I spent the weekend) the rest of the weekend was beautiful and filled with BBQs, the beach, and wine tasting–as all good weekend should be! We were in a little bit of a World Cup fever in the office the week before and while I am not a soccer person I did watch both games while I was stuck inside listening to the game on July Fourth and am both happy and sad to report that soccer made a fan out of me right at the very end! But back to work…

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 11.22.06 AMOn Tuesday I ran a twitter author chat with Jean Kwok, the author of Mambo in Chinatown. She is a very interesting woman and had a lot of very thought provoking and deep things to say about class and social standing and her experiences growing up. Plus, she has a great sense of humor! I recommend reading the chat thread here and joining us next week at 1PM on Tuesday, July 15th. What I enjoy most about these chats is that every one I do is so different. Sometimes when you are reading a book you forget there’s an author who’s thoughts and experiences brought the story to life. It is nice to be reminded of the person behind the page and hear what they have to say. Often times they have great writing tips too!


I also attended author Celeste Ng’s reading on Wednesday night at the Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. I was interested in the book to begin with but after listening to her reading I just needed to get my hands on it! Lucky for me the book was waiting for me on my desk the next morning. I can tell you right now that Everything I Never Told You will be coming home with me this weekend!

Rather than describing the book myself I thought I would let Celeste. During Wednesdays reading she said that,

“Everything I Never Told You on the one hand it is about the things that people sort of deliberately keep from each other, the secrets that they choose not to tell because they are afraid, because they are ashamed, or because they are embarrassed. But I think it also speaks to the things that often go unsaid just because we don’t realize that other people want to hear them.”

dartsTo round out the week a few of us from the office decided to have a friendly darts competition last night. Amy and I won the first round. By the second round, there was as much tension as the World Cup, even though we lacked the skill to back up our trash talking. However all of our collective competitiveness came to a grinding halt when Sarah, one of our Web Designers, stood up and casually hit a lucky bulls eye, silencing the group and putting us all to shame.

I am not the only one who gets competitive during friendly games am I? If you have a story I would love to hear it! Have a great weekend and talk to you soon!


JessicaselfieWhen I was a little girl, I used to watch West Side Story over and over. I had a strong sense of justice, and loved getting swept up in Maria and Tony’s rebellious romance, not to mention worked up over their communities’ totally lame and unfair objections to it. Later, as a teen, I was consistently attracted to boys for whom my parents harbored built-in disapproval: usually boys in bands, and boys who had been expelled from one or more high schools. Most nights were filled with hushed, flirtatious phone calls followed by blood-vessel bursting screaming matches with my mom, who just didn’t understand. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized parents’ disapproval of their teenage daughters’ romantic choices isn’t always about blind prejudice. More often then we’d like to think, it’s about the fact that teenage love is intense, and it tends not to end well.

Like No Other by Una LaMarche is a forbidden love story not unlike Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, or West Side Story, for that matter: It begins when Devorah, a Hasidic Jewish girl, meets Jaxon, a second generation Caribbean-American boy, when the two are stuck in an elevator during a hurricane power outage. Now if you don’t know about the Hasidic faith, it’s an incredibly closed community and it is beyond taboo for an unmarried Hasidic girl to be alone with any boys, much less a boy outside her faith and race. Despite the fact that they wouldn’t speak to each other under normal circumstances, Devorah and Jaxon make an undeniable connection during their time in that elevator that changes their lives forever–embarking on a forbidden friendship that will soon blossom into first love, risking everything–family, faith, and friends–to be together.

Yes, this book has all the swoon-worthy, drama-filled, heart-pounding romance I couldn’t get enough of growing up, but it also has perspective. It shows the powers and the pitfalls of family, tradition and faith. It shows the highs and lows of first love. But most remarkably, it cracks open a door of possibility beyond first love (I mean, it’s called first love for a reason), reminding readers that the future is out there, it’s longer than you think, and it’s all yours.

Sometimes I look back on my teen love interests and wonder if my parents were right. They were right to worry about my heart. All good parents should. They were wrong to think they could stop it from loving boys in bands. (I’m marrying one next month.) First love is not the be-all-end-all that it feels like in the moment, but it is the start of something exquisite that never really does go away.

Thank you, Una LaMarche, for capturing this and reminding me.

Read More Posts From the Editor’s Desk.


John Mercun works as the Consumer Engagement Manager for Penguin Random House’s Consumer Marketing Group and is known as “the funniest guy in the office”, mainly because no one else is editing this bio.  In his spare time, John is a police dispatcher, volunteer EMT, fantasy football fanatic and, when time permits, an avid reader.





Taken, by Robert Crais

One of the great pleasures of working in publishing is being able to watch an author get more and more popular every year that they publish.  This is no truer than in the case of Robert Crais, who has made a name for himself as a terrific mystery writer.  Elvis Cole is easily one of my favorite literary characters, mainly because he always has a glib comment in the best or worst of times. Partnered with the strong but silent Joe Pike, together they take on a missing persons case that puts both of them up against more than they bargained for.




Cold Dish

The Cold Dish, by Craig Johnson

If you’ve never seen A&E’s hit show LONGMIRE, you should first pick up The Cold Dish, the first novel in the series. We meet Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire for the first time as he is looking back on twenty-five years as sheriff and hoping to finish his tenure in peace.  When a high school boy is found dead, however, Walt’s hopes for a quiet finish to his career are dashed. Capturing the American West with great feel and authenticity, author Craig Johnson gives readers a mystery that they will keep reading well into the night.




Terminal City

Terminal City, by Linda Fairstein

In the two decades as the chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney’s office of Manhattan, Linda Fairstein spent most of her time solving crimes.  Now she spends most of her time writing about people who solve crimes. Terminal City reunites readers with Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper who find themselves hunting for an elusive killer whose only signature is carving a carefully drawn symbol into his victims’ bodies. This thrill ride takes readers into the darkest heart of one of New York’s most iconic structures – Grand Central Terminal.




The Marco Effect, by Jussi Adler-Olsen

I’ve always appreciated the smart and surly police detective who walks to the beat of his own drum while getting the job done.  And no one fits that bill more than Carl Mørck, the deeply flawed head of Copenhagen’s unsolved crime unit known as “Department Q”.  With a few years left until retirement,  Mørck hopes to quietly whittle the time away in the basement of police headquarters. Unfortunately, that plan has yet to work out. This time, he’s chasing down a fifteen year old gypsy boy on the run and a mystery that extends from Denmark to Africa, from embezzlers to child soldiers, from seemingly petty crime rings to the very darkest of cover-ups. Coming this September!



Missing YouMissing You, by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is no stranger to the mystery and suspense world.  NYPD Detective Kat Donovan has become an old friend to his readers and, with each book, the friendship grows a little deeper.  Against her will, Kat is placed on an online dating site that at first she thinks is a waste of time.  But when she looks at the accompanying photo to one profile, her world comes crashing down.  Staring back her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, who broke her heart over 18 years ago.  Things are not what they seem, however, and when Kat reaches out to him an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light that Kat is forced to confront and stop.



Find more books on the Mystery & Suspense page!

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Paul Wargelin is a mild-mannered Web Copy Manager for the great metropolitan Penguin Random House’s Berkley and NAL imprints, who also writes and edits cover copy for the Ace, Roc, and InkLit imprints. Despite a lifetime exposed to a variety of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and superhero fiction, he has yet to develop any superpowers of his own.



TomorrowTomorrow and Tomorrow, by Thomas Sweterlitsch

Easily the best debut novel I have ever read, science fiction or otherwise. We already live in a world where cameras on every street corner, and in everyone’s hands, record everything we do 24/7. Now, imagine collating all of that recorded footage into a virtual environment, recreated precisely from every conceivable angle, its historical events preserved for people to experience and interact with again and again. Tomorrow and Tomorrow is the poignant story of one man’s addiction to reliving his virtual past, an intriguing murder mystery that unfolds both online and off, and a thought-provoking near-future vision that takes our technological social connected society to its logical, plausible, and increasingly isolating conclusion. My favorite book Penguin has published since I started my career here.


LexiconLexicon, by Max Barry

A mesmerizing science fiction mystery featuring the most exciting first chapter I’ve read in recent memory, Lexicon hits the ground running with an amnesiac desperately trying to regain his lost memories and doesn’t stop until his final confrontation against a woman capable of destroying the world with a single word. A riveting story of how ambition, power, and ultimately love, alters our very essence.






Terminal World, by Alastair Reynolds

A fallen angel. A city comprised of dirigibles. Cybernetic cannibals called carnivorgs. These are just a few of the elements found in Terminal World’s post-apocalyptic far future setting. An incredible adventure from one of science fiction’s most imaginative practitioners, Alastair Reynolds’s novel is a must read for Steampunk aficionados willing to expand their horizons beyond the genre’s basic tropes.





Resus Chart

The Rhesus Chart: A Laundry Files Novel, by Charles Stross

Since I was introduced to Bob Howard in The Atrocity Archives, I’ve faithfully followed the adventures of this tech nerd/cubicle jockey turned “computational demonologist” as he reluctantly fights the forces of Lovecraftian darkness on behalf of Her Majesty’s anti-occult organization known as the Laundry. Bob’s role as an everyman office drone separates him from the destined supernatural warriors chronicled in most urban fantasies, making him one of the most relatable protagonists in the genre. The Rhesus Chart pits Bob against vampire financiers employed by a literal blood bank as Charles Stross once again demonstrates just how bureaucratic office politics can lead to Armageddon in both humorous and horrific style.



Vampires, by John Steakley

The late John Steakley’s contribution to vampire mythology is an action-packed thrill-ride featuring the hunters of Vampire$, Inc., secretly bankrolled by the Catholic Church, exterminating bloodsuckers with extreme prejudice. But the endless cycle of violence against near-immortal demons takes its toll as Jack Crow and his team begin to lose their capacity for compassion—and their very humanity—after every battle. Cynical and daring, Steakley’s focus on Crow’s crew as soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome while leaving the vampires in the shadows made this novel one of my most emotionally invested reads.



Ruled Britannia

Ruled Britannia, by Harry Turtledove

Harry Turtledove proves the pen is mightier than the sword as William Shakespeare writes a play to galvanize a conquered populace to turn against their occupiers in this alternate history about the Spanish Armada’s successful invasion of Elizabethan England. Immersing himself in the literary language of the era, Turtledove has crafted an inspired novel in true Shakespearean fashion with his intriguing cat and mouse game between the Bard and Spanish playwright/soldier Lope de Vega, depicted as mutually respectful adversaries loyal to opposing regimes. What I love about Turtledove’s historical novels is that you don’t have to be a scholar to enjoy them, and I find myself educated as well as entertained.


The Long Walk

The Long Walk, by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman

One hundred teenage boys volunteer to trek down the east coast of the United States as contestants in a brutal game of endurance, marching non-stop until only one remains. Reading this in one day, King’s relentless narrative had me just as fatigued as the walkers, feeling their psychological and physical stress as they faltered and fell one-by-one. Taut and tight characterizations put you inside the head and heart of each featured walker, learning the dreams, fears, and agendas that drive them to win. It may have originally been published under his Richard Bachman pseudonym, but in my estimation The Long Walk ranks among the best novels of King’s career—and is also a frightening vision of the potential direction “Reality TV” could take in the future.


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