Book of the Month October 2018 Selections: What Book Should You Choose?

Book of the Month October 2018 Selections
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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).

Honestly, I’m not a fan of this month’s selections at all. There are so many great books coming out in October, some that I’ve already read. But, Book of the Month has given us two women’s fiction authors that are so well known you definitely don’t need Book of the Month to help you find them (Elin Hilderbrand and Kate Morton), the obligatory psychological thriller that seems to be included every single month, a YouTube sensation’s book, and a thick, history tome. 

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 October 2018 Selections

Lies We ToldThe Lies We Told by Camilla Way
Release Date: October 9, 2018

336 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.27 on 623 ratings
Selected By: Liberty Hardy (co-host of Book Riot‘s All the Books podcast)

When Clara’s boyfriend, Luke, disappears, everyone believes that he’s left her, but Clara thinks she knows the truth. Recent evidence suggests that Luke had a stalker, and Clara worries that he’s been kidnapped. Then Luke’s older sister, Emma, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears.

Emma wants to help Clara with her search for Luke, but she refuses to talk about what happened–even though it nearly destroyed her family when she vanished. And the deeper Clara digs into Luke’s mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that the two incidents are connected.

My Thoughts:
The Lies We Told is this month’s obligatory psychological thriller…this time British and from the author of Watching Edie. It involves a possibly psychopathic child (sounds a bit like Baby Teeth to me) and a friendship gone wrong. Goodreads reviewers said there’s a dual timeline and that it will test your detective skills, but some mentioned a lack of emotional connection and a frantic feeling plot. Most of the Goodreads reviews described it the exact same way every other psychological thriller is described (e.g. page-turner, twisty, shocking ending, secrets, lies, etc). I got blurbs from Fiona Barton, B.A. Paris, Heather Gudenkauf, and J.T. Ellison.

Winter in ParadiseWinter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
Release Date: October 9, 2018

272 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.27 on 67 ratings
Selected By: Etaf Rum (Book of the Month Brand Ambassador)

Welcome to Paradise, the first book in the Paradise series, has everything that readers have come to know and love about an Elin Hilderbrand novel, plus a healthy dose of intrigue. Irene Steele’s idyllic life-house, husband, family-is shattered when she is woken up by a late-night phone call. Her beloved husband has been found dead, but before Irene can process this tragic news, she must confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death. He was found on St. John island, a tropical paradise far removed from their suburban life. Leaving the cold winter behind, Irene flies down to the beautiful Caribbean beaches of St. John only to make another shocking discovery: her husband had a secret second family. As Irene investigates the mysterious circumstances of her husband’s death, she is plunged into a web of intrigue and deceit belied by the pristine white sand beaches of St. John’s.

My Thoughts:
Elin Hilderbrand probably doesn’t need much explanation (she writes chick-lit / romance and is known for her series set in Nantucket). Winter in Paradise is the first in her new series set in St. John. Goodreads reviewers mentioned its  mystery elements, family drama, and secrets and said it focuses on 5 characters, but from the 3rd person perspective. The reviews also indicated this is more standard Elin Hilderbrand fare. There is somewhat of a cliffhanger ending, but I think that’s to be expected from an early book in a series. Jessica Howard (of the Sorta Book Nerds Facebook Group) says it’s “super fun, but also poignant.”

Absolutely Remarkable ThingAn Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Release Date: September 25, 2018
343 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.33 on 572 ratings
Selected By: Jennifer Dernievelle (BOTM Readers Committee)

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship–like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor–April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

My Thoughts:
Hank Green has quite an Internet following as co-creator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers (with John Green), and SciShow and is YA author John Green’s brother. His debut novel is sort of sci-fi and set in NY. Tina at TBR, etc. is reading it right now and said she was immediately drawn in, that she identifies with April May (the protagonist), that is doesn’t feel super sci-fi so far, but that there is something weird going on. Goodreads reviewers said it explores fame, the media, and sexuality. They described it as quirky, pop culture-filled, fast-paced, a little overly moralistic, and as having some political undertones. They said April May is snarky and is a love her or hate her type. The description “YA” was thrown around a fair amount even though it’s technically not YA…but, it apparently has a YA-ish and millennial feel.

Clockmaker's DaughterThe Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
Release Date: October 9, 2018
496 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.92 on 845 ratings
Selected By: Steph Opitz (Book Reviewer at Marie Claire)

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

My Thoughts:
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a multi-generational family mystery spanning the 1860’s to present day. Kelly Massry (one of my trusted book recommendation sources) read it and rated it 3 stars. She said it’s part ghost story and a bit creepy. She was frustrated with the slow pace and chaotic structure, but loved the but great writing. Goodreads reviewers mention the intriguing premise and brilliant ending, but that it’s cluttered with side stories, and is entirely too long. Almost every review I read (even the 4 and 5 star ones) mention that it’s confusing to follow (jumping around in time periods and lots of points of view) and is a book that takes lots of concentration. It’s an October Library Reads pick.

In the Hurricane's EyeIn the Hurricane’s Eye by Nathaniel Philbrick
Release Date: October 16, 2018
416 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.82 on 17 ratings
Selected By: Siobhan Jones (Book of the Month Editorial Director)

In the Hurricane’s Eye opens in the fall of 1780. For five years, American and British forces had clashed along the edge of a vast continent and were now at a stalemate. The Royal Navy, with its fleet of powerful warships (just one of which mounted more cannons than possessed by the entire rebel army), could attack the rebels’ seaside cities at will. The Rebels could just fall back inland and wait. Neither side could inflict the killing blow. As Washington knew better than anyone, only the French navy could break Britain’s stranglehold on the eastern seaboard and thus ensure an American victory.

In the Battle of the Chesapeake (1781 – called the most important naval engagement in the history of the world), a French admiral foiled British attempts to rescue the army led by General Cornwallis. By making the subsequent victory at Yorktown a virtual inevitability, this naval battle–masterminded by Washington but waged without a single American ship–was largely responsible for the independence of the United States. A riveting and wide-ranging narrative, full of dramatic, unexpected turns, In the Hurricane’s Eye reveals that the fate of the American Revolution depended, in the end, on Washington and the sea.

My Thoughts:
Nathaniel Philbrick is apparently a very popular historical author…all his “major titles” have been NYT bestsellers (including Valiant Ambition and Bunker Hill). In the Hurricane’s Eye is about the “less discussed in history books” Battle of Yorktown, which was the last major land battle of the Revolutionary War. Admittedly, this is not my kind of book at all…I glazed over just reading the synopsis! There are only 3 reviews on Goodreads, one of which just thanks Viking (the publisher) for sending an ARC. Another is written by a historian (probably not the perspective of most Book of the Month readers), but the third says it “fill[s] in some heavy knowledge gaps and help[s] give a solid handle on all that encompassed the amazing path to the final battle of the American Revolution” and calls it “exciting.” 

What Book of the Month Club October 2018 selection(s) will I choose?

I’m skipping this month.

Make your Book of the Month selections by Saturday, October 6th.

What book will you choose this month?

This Month’s Special Deals

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  1. I listened to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and enjoyed it but think it’s an odd selection for BoTM.

    Posted 9.30.18 Reply
  2. Gabby wrote:

    I went with An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. I can be a little picky about “fluff” reads, but this seems like it might be the kind I enjoy!

    Posted 9.30.18 Reply
  3. Jan wrote:

    UGH!! Skipping. I’ve beeb disappointed by the selections the last few months and if it’s not better next month I will probably cancel my membership.

    Posted 9.30.18 Reply
  4. Diane wrote:

    The only one on my list from that stack is Winter Paradise, I hope it’s a good one.

    Posted 9.30.18 Reply
  5. Brittany wrote:

    I’m so bummed. I’ve skipped the past couple of months and it looks like I’ll be skipping this one as well. I don’t know if I’ll be asking for another BOTM subscription for Christmas again.

    Posted 9.30.18 Reply
  6. Wendy wrote:

    Can I just comment that my son went to grade school with a girl named April May Junius? I cannot make this up. How odd that there’s a character in Hank Green’s book named April May.

    Posted 9.30.18 Reply
  7. Yuk! What a dismal month. Not a one I’m even slightly interested in. It’s a tough month for you to cover BOTM.

    Posted 9.30.18 Reply
  8. Susan wrote:

    I am going to request two of them from the library. “Winter In Paradise” and “The We Told”. Will be interesting to see if I like them or not. Mostly, I read to relax and be entertained these seem like good picks for that.

    Posted 10.1.18 Reply
  9. Dotty wrote:

    I am skipping this month. I have been disappointed in the selections for the last few months. There are so many good books coming out in October and November, and I thought the selections would include something I would like. Also, I miss the original judges!

    Posted 10.1.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I agree on all fronts! I definitely noticed this fall-off around the same time that they changed the judges. All my favorite judges whose tast aligns with mine disappeared. And I feel like they’ve moved away from literary fiction and narrative nonfiction….so many thrillers, genre books, etc. Not up my alley. And the history tome?? That one is inexplicable! Who is going to choose that one?!

      Posted 10.4.18 Reply
  10. I may have gone to Target and bought An Absolutely Remarkable Thing on release day . . . . I’m skeptical, but hopefully I’ll read it this month. None of the other books sound appealing at all.

    Posted 10.1.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Haha – that’s awesome!

      Posted 10.4.18 Reply
  11. Allison wrote:

    I have just not been excited about BOTM in a long time. The thrillers all sound vaguely the same to me, and I think you’re right that the Kate Morton and Elin Hilderbrand would have been found by readers anyway. I feel like they’re having trouble finding that sweet spot of books that are exciting to readers but aren’t already on their radar.

    Posted 10.1.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I was sure they’d pick something good this month – there were so many good books to choose from! I agree, the thrillers all sound the same…even when I write my commentary, I’ve run out of anything to say about the thrillers. It’s all the same words for every book. I just came right out and said that this month – haha!

      Posted 10.4.18 Reply
  12. Rose wrote:

    I don’t post a lot but I check your site every week, Sarah! And I especially look forward to your BOTM What Book Should You Choose post. Thank you for this! I too have been disappointed in the selections for most of this year. I did chose An Absolutely Remarkable Thing because it was blurbed by Lev Grossman and because I need to use up my credits so I can cancel my subscription. I received a survey from them today that asked about the selections, and what other types of nonfiction they should consider, as well as interest in literary fiction. There was a place for comments and I said it hasn’t been the same since they eliminated the judges. I think they may be catching on to the dissatisfaction many people have in the selections.

    Posted 10.1.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you so much – your sweet comment means a lot! Honestly, I used to get really excited about doing this post every month, but it’s become somewhat of a chore since I’m rarely excited about the books. And, books I’ve taken a risk on haven’t panned out for me.

      I wish I’d gotten that survey!! I almost want to email them this blog post with all the comments talking about the selections dropping off. It’s almost like they’ve abandoned literary fiction entirely and I can trace it back to when they changed the judges.

      Posted 10.4.18 Reply
  13. Cami Castle wrote:

    I decided upon An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and added The Clockmaker’s Daughter as well. They both seem like interesting books and I couldn’t decide between the two. So many books, so little time!

    Posted 10.1.18 Reply
  14. Sarah wrote:

    I’m agreeing with all the other commenters – BOTM has fallen. I don’t like the subscription model and the selections have not been great. I would love for them to highlight new authors. Elin Hilderbrand, Hank Green, and Kate Morton do not need any more publicity.

    Posted 10.2.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I don’t mind the subscription model, but their picks have really fallen off. I remember finding some of my best reads of last year through BOTM and there has only been one of those this year (and I didn’t find it through was a pick after I’d read it)…An American Marriage.

      Posted 10.4.18 Reply
  15. Betsy Hayes wrote:

    It might be nice to have a few books in various categories each month. Maybe 5 mystery, 5 romance, 5 nonfiction, etc or less. Maybe 3. Even a Classics category could work.

    Posted 10.16.18 Reply

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