Book of the Month February 2019 Selections: What Book Should You Choose?

Book of the Month February 2019
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Welcome to my monthly feature “Book of the Month Selections: What Book Should You Choose?”! Every month, I provide commentary on the books that are chosen as that month’s Book of the Month selections that will hopefully help you choose your pick, and tell you which book(s) I’m going to choose. AND, I provide you with the most up to date version of my Ultimate Guide to the Book of the Month Judges with free, downloadable template (below).

It’s been awhile since I’ve loved the Book of the Month selections overall…but, I love this month’s picks! There are lots (3) of debuts this month…two of which I’m really interested in! Plus, the obligatory monthly psychological thriller and a sci-fi / fantasy pick. 

Choose the best Book of the Month selection for you every time!

Check out my fun new tool to help you pick the best Book of the Month selection for your taste: my Ultimate Guide to the Book of the Month Judges and free, downloadable template to help you find your go-to BOTM judge!

Book of the Month February 2019 Selections

Winter SisterThe Winter Sister by Megan Collins
Release Date: February 5, 2019

320 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.03 on 267 ratings
Selected By: Brianna Goodman (Book of the Month Editorial Team)

In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.

My Thoughts:
The Winter Sister is this month’s psychological thriller and it’s a debut. It’s about family dynamics, particularly mother / daughter relationships and relationships between sisters. Goodreads reviewers praised the writing (especially for a debut) and the character development, but the overwhelming complaint was that the plot was tired / predictable (almost every review I read said that frequent thriller readers will have seen the plot before). They also said it’s atmospheric and focuses on the effects of guilt. Wendy Walker (author of All is Not Forgotten and Emma in the Night, one of my favorite thrillers) said it has a “gripping, suspenseful plot with a compelling character study of a grieving family.”

Early RiserEarly Riser by Jasper Fforde
Release Date: February 12, 2019

416 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.13 on 1,542 ratings
Selected By: Liberty Hardy (co-host of Book Riot‘s All the Books podcast)

Every Winter, the human population hibernates.

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity.

Well, not quite .

Your name is Charlie Worthing and it’s your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses.

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artefact borne of the sleeping mind.

When the dreams start to kill people, it’s unsettling.

When you get the dreams too, it’s weird.

When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity.

My Thoughts:
Fforde is the British bestselling author of The Eyre Affair and the Thursday Next and Nursery Crimes series. Early Riser is a stand-alone sci-fi / fantasy novel and, like with the last sci-fi pick from BOTM, I can’t make heads or tails of the premise of this book other than that it’s something about life going into hibernation every winter. Goodreads reviewers called it quirky and inventive and praised its witty writing and funny footnotes (they warn readers not to skip them!). They also said the plot is original and that it’s a bit slow in the beginning (first third to half of the book) in the name of world-building, but picks up the pace later. And, Fforde fans say it’s not his best book but they enjoyed it nonetheless.

Age of LightThe Age of Light by Whitney Scharer
Release Date: February 5, 2019
384 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.09 on 138 ratings
Selected By: Taylor Jenkins Reid (Author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and more)

A captivating debut about Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her passionate affair with the artist Man Ray in 1930s Paris.

My Thoughts:
This debut historical fiction novel falls into the category of fiction based on real-life epic love affairs (a category I love!), which reminds me of similar books Loving Frank and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (my review). And, even better when the woman is trying to find her own purpose in the midst of these affairs, as is the case with all these books. A murderers’ row of stand-out authors blurbed this book: Madeline Miller, Paula McClain, Celeste Ng, and Georgia Hunter. I’m reading it right now (and loving it so far!), but I’m only six chapters in, so I’m calling on some trusted recommendation sources to share their thoughts. Georgia Hunter recommended it on Episode 1 of the Sarah’s Book Shelves Live podcast (click the timestamp to hear her comments: [38:10])…she talked about it’s strong sense of time and place (I agree based on the first six chapters!), called it “gripping” and “sensual”, and said it made her want to immediately Google everything about Lee Miller and Man Ray. Susie from Novel Visits (one of my top recommendation sources) said it’s her favorite book of the year so far and that she was left hoping for a sequel to learn more about Lee Miller. The more critical Goodreads reviews mostly cite the steamy love scenes and call the book out for being a romance masquerading as historical fiction.

A Woman is No ManA Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
Release Date: March 5, 2019
336 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.5 on 78 ratings
Selected By: Siobhan Jones (Book of the Month Editorial Director)

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her fragile community.

My Thoughts:
First, the author. Even though this is a debut novel, Rum’s name may sound familiar because she’s a Book of the Month Ambassador and extremely popular Bookstagrammer (@booksandbeans). She’s also the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, but was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. The story is about three generations of Palestinian women and the challenges Muslim women face. It’s a family drama that covers a range of issues…religion, abuse, marriage, mental illness, addiction, etc. And, the Goodreads reviews are outstanding! Many reviewers mention this being the best book they’ve read in awhile. They also call it a feminist book despite focusing on a decidedly un-feminist culture and they mention the cultural and generational clashes facing traditional Muslims who are raised in America (a theme I personally love in my reading). Bonus: I hear the three main characters are all book lovers! Honestly, I hadn’t paid much attention to this book prior to yesterday…but, I’m now super interested.

On the Come UpOn the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Release Date: February 5, 2019
447 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.39 on 518 ratings
Selected By: Helen Hoang (Author of The Kiss Quotient)

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

My Thoughts:
You’ve probably at least heard of The Hate U GiveOn the Come Up is Thomas’s sophomore novel and it has BIG shoes to fill. It’s being called her “homage to hip-hop.” Just in case you don’t know, Thomas is a YA (Young Adult) author, but The Hate U Give had massive crossover appeal, so I expect the same from On the Come Up. Many of the Goodreads reviews were by people who were just excited about the book, but hadn’t actually read it. But, I did find some actual reviews, which were mostly positive. They talked about the gorgeous writing, Bri’s song lyrics and hilarious, yet challenging personality, and the rawness. A few also mentioned they felt less of an emotional connection with Bri than they did with Starr from THUG. Reviewers say it’s a different book from THUG, but takes on some of the same themes (ex: poverty, police brutality) and is written with the same heart and soul. I loved THUG, but am going to wait for some more reviews from trusted sources on this one before I decide to commit.

What Book of the Month February 2019 selection(s) will I choose?

I’m choosing two books this month!

1) The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer – I already have an e-galley, but am liking it so much already that I want a hard copy for my shelves.

2) A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum – This one wasn’t on my radar until yesterday, but the Goodreads reviews are so outstanding that I’m adding it to my list!

Make your Book of the Month selections by Wednesday, February 6th.

What book will you choose this month?

This Month’s Special Deals

NEW MEMBER DEAL: New members can get their first book for just $5. Use code LOVEISLOVE.

ANNUAL PAYMENT DEAL: BOTM is now a monthly subscription service. However, given that some members preferred paying upfront, they are now offering a 12-month option. Members who sign up for 12 months will pay $149.99/year. That’s $12.50/book, instead of the standard price of $14.99/month.

How to Join Book of the Month…

Book of the Month is a subscription service for people who like to try new books from a curated selection and like to read in hardcover format. Through Book of the Month, you can get a hardcover book for generally significantly less than you’d pay in a bookstore or through Amazon. And, you get to try something new that has been vetted by one of Book of the Month’s well-read judges!

Sign up for any of the subscription plans below and you get to choose one of five books selected by Book of the Month’s panel of judges (including a surprise guest judge). Book of the Month will then mail your chosen book to your house with a cute note. You also have the option to purchase additional books for $9.99 each and to skip a month if you want.

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  1. Hmmm….I was not left with the feeling that The Age of Light was a romance masquerading as historical fiction at all. I’ve read a lot about the Miller/Ray relationship and I think the portrayal was historically accurate, so boo to the Goodreads reviews that thought that!

    I’m reading The Winter Sister right now, and agree that the basic plot is a common one. Luckily, I don’t read a lot of thrillers, so it isn’t really bothering me and her writing is excellent. I have A Woman is No Man coming up and I’m very excited to read that one.

    Posted 2.1.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I agree about Age of Light…and I don’t generally love romances. It’s not bothering me.

      Posted 2.5.19 Reply
  2. I don’t think I ever selected a BOTM faster than this month with On the Come-Up! I haven’t seen many reviews of it yet either, but even after one book (+ following her on twitter forever), I feel like I trust Angie Thomas! I am adding A Woman is no Man to my list though, I hadn’t heard of it before but it sounds great.

    Posted 2.1.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Yeah – I bet that’s what a lot of people will pick. I just figured I’d wait for some early reviews from readers I trust. While I did love THUG, I’m always nervous about YA and sophomore novels.

      Posted 2.5.19 Reply
  3. Anita wrote:

    You’re killing me! LOL, no I was drawn to 3 of this month’s books but after reading more reviews and your blog I’ve decided to skip The Winter Sister because I read a lot of thrillers and don’t want the disappointment.
    As always thanks for your thorough research!

    Posted 2.1.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      You’re very welcome! And glad to hear my posts are actually influencing someone’s decisions! Now I really hope it works out for you – haha!

      Posted 2.5.19 Reply
  4. Veronica wrote:

    Love your reviews every month. I picked The Age of Light and A Woman is no Man. I also added Enchantee for a full box!

    Posted 2.1.19 Reply
  5. renee wrote:

    I really want to read The Age of Light and A Woman is No Man! This is the first time I wish I had a BOTM subscription as I didn’t request either of those on edelweiss or netgalley but they both sound so good

    Posted 2.1.19 Reply
  6. Catherine wrote:

    What?! How could you not pay attention to A Woman is No Man? It was one of my picks on our episode about winter releases. I say you go with it.

    Posted 2.2.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      No it wasn’t! Maybe it was on your blog post, but you definitely didn’t talk about it on the podcast. I think I didn’t pay attention b/c it’s not the kind of book I’m usually initially drawn to, but the Goodreads reviews kind of sold me, plus some quotes…loved her writing.

      Posted 2.5.19 Reply
  7. Susan wrote:

    Feb. Book of the Month… But wait isn’t A Woman Is No Man a March release? I say go with the Angie Thomas.

    Posted 2.2.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      It is – but they’re offering it early I guess! It’s early March.

      Posted 2.5.19 Reply
  8. Etaf Rum wrote:

    Sarah, Thank you so much for choosing A Woman Is No Man! I really hope you love it as much as I loved writing it. <3

    Posted 2.4.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      You’re very welcome and I’m looking forward to it!

      Posted 2.5.19 Reply
  9. A Woman Is No Man sounds excellent–definitely adding it to my TBR. They had some great picks this month!

    Posted 2.4.19 Reply
  10. Sherie wrote:

    I chose A Woman is no man and winter sister. I would have taken On the Come Up, buff my daughter wants it the same as her Hate You Give and sometimes size is little different for BOTM books. A Woman is no Man gave me a vibe similar to the Jessmyn Ward books I loved. Looking forward to reading it

    Posted 2.5.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Hmm….now that worries me because I didn’t love either of the Ward books I read. We’ll see! Mine just arrived yesterday.

      Posted 2.5.19 Reply
  11. Beatrice woods wrote:

    When will I receive my February selection?

    Posted 2.20.19 Reply

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