Tag: Book Recommendations

2018 Summer Reading List

May 17, 2018 Book Lists 39

2018 Summer Reading List

 

Summer reading means something a bit different to everyone. Some of you like to put their brains completely on vacation with fun, easy reads. Some of you like an action-packed page turner. Some of you want something with a bit more substance. And some of you might like to head off the beaten path.

Personally, I like books you can fly through, books you don’t have to work too hard on, and books you can get easily immersed in. I avoid books that demand to be read in perfect peace and quiet (last time I checked, the beach and pool generally have screaming kids around!).

I’ve read every book that appears on this list and, as always, will continue to add new selections throughout the summer. And, stay tuned for My Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2018 (i.e. books that will be published later this summer, many of which I haven’t read yet) on Thursday, May 24.

The Summer Reading Guide has a couple new elements this year:

  • Printable Cheatsheet – the Summer Reading Guide in quick recommendations in PDF format for easy printing (great for taking to the bookstore or library!). Download for free below!
  • #1 Picks for Each Category – I highlighted my very favorite book in each category in the Guide (Something Fun, Something Intense / Fast-Paced, Something With A Bit More Substance, and Something Different). Stay tuned because these picks could change as I add more books to the list throughout the summer!

IT’S COME TO MY ATTENTION THAT THE CHEATSHEET IS PRINTING OUT BLURRY.

WHEN YOU SIGN UP BELOW, BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR AN EMAIL FROM SARAHSBOOKSHELVES@GMAIL.COM WITH A NON-BLURRY VERSION OF THE CHEATSHEET!

Previous Summer Reading Lists: 2013201420152016, 2017

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

2018 Summer Reading List

Something Fun

My #1 Pick

Woman Last Seen in Her ThirtiesWoman Last Seen in Her Thirties by Camille Pagan
Fiction – Brain Candy (Released February 27, 2018)
254 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When when 50-something year old Maggie’s husband abruptly leaves her, she is forced to rediscover her identity and rebuild her life.

My Thoughts: Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties is an easy and fun, but not silly read with small threads of darkness running underneath. There’s salty humor and real talk about aging, marriage, divorce, finding your identity, and piecing your life back together after an upheaval. I absolutely related to Maggie’s realization that she had lost her identity after having children and her struggle to regain it again. Pagan reminds me of a lighter, more sarcastic version of Anna Quindlen and I recommend this one particularly to the mothers out there.

Alternative Remedies for LossAlternative Remedies for Loss by Joanna Cantor
Fiction – Brain Candy (Released May 8, 2018)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When Olivia’s Dad brings his new girlfriend on a family trip to India only months after her Mom’s death from cancer, Olivia has to figure out how to navigate her grief and get her life back on track.

My Thoughts: I bet you wouldn’t expect a novel about grief to be a light, easy read, but Alternative Remedies for Loss is both those things! I flew through it in just a few days at the beach…and it was an excellent beach read despite the focus on grief. Beyond Olivia’s grief, Alternative Remedies for Loss is a story about a family trying to figure out their new normal after the loss of their mother and a daughter trying to get to know who her mother was as a person, beyond her role as mother and wife. Full review.

Bachelor NationBachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman
Nonfiction (Released March 6, 2018)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Kaufman, a L.A. Times reporter who covered The Bachelor franchise until ABC shut down her access because they weren’t pleased with what she was writing about the show, exposes the inner workings of The Bachelor franchise.

My Thoughts: In Bachelor NationKaufman investigates The Bachelor‘s cultural place in America, how producers get contestants to give them good TV, how and why contestants think they fall in love over such a short period of time, and what happens to the couples after the show ends. Beware if you want to preserve the fairytale because you’ll for sure be watching the show differently after reading it. Full Review.

Dear Fahrenheit 451Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released September 26, 2017)
256 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Spence, a public librarian, shares her “love letters and break-up notes” to her favorite books, as well as musings and rants about various aspects of her reading life…plus, a whole section of book recommendation lists.

My Thoughts: Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the anti-My Life with Bob (which was a similar book, but got too esoteric and intellectually snobby for my taste)! You’ve probably heard of most of the books she discusses and even read a few…and there’s no intellectual snobbery here. Spence is relatable, funny, and often snarky. The chapters are short and it will explode your TBR list…consider yourself warned. Big-time bookworms with a sense of humor, this one’s for you!

How To Walk Away How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Fiction – Brain Candy (Released May 15, 2018)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: After Margaret is in a tragic accident the night she gets engaged, she must figure out how to move forward and who she is post-accident.

My Thoughts: How to Walk Away is another book about a very serious topic that’s handled in a light-hearted way…and it reads like brain candy. How to Walk Away reminded me of a less ugly-cry spin on Me Before You. There’s a number of likable characters that I was rooting hard for, some romance, some humor, family drama, and a hopeful, inspirational tone. The ending is utterly ridiculous, but I would have been furious had it ended any other way (a sign of a true rom-com?). Full review.

Look Alive Out ThereLook Alive Out There: Essays by Sloane Crosley
Nonfiction – Essays (Released April 3, 2018)
256 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: A collection of essays about Crosley’s mostly New York City life, with her “trademark hilarity, wit, and charm.”

My Thoughts: I generally have trouble with essay collections billed as humorous. Humor is hard. I often feel like the author is trying too hard with the jokes. But, Crosley’s humor is more subtle…the kind that has me chuckling rather than LOLing (a promise of so many of these types of essay collections), which is much more up my alley. Look Alive Out There is light and fun, but also smart and sharp. Crosley captures the ridiculousness and weirdness and occasional hilariousness of living in New York City and doesn’t hold back with the social commentary. Full Review.

The Heirs by Susan RiegerThe Heirs by Susan Rieger
Fiction – Brain Candy (Released May 23, 2017)
254 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When Rupert Falkes passes away from cancer, the rest of his wealthy Manhattan family (his wife and five sons) struggles with their identity amid accusations that he fathered two children out of wedlock.

My Thoughts: Don’t make the same mistake I did by assuming The Heirs is another version of The Nest! It’s not “wealthy people behaving badly”…it is the story of one wealthy Manhattan family, their relationships with each other, and their own internal struggles. The writing about NYC society reminded me of Jay McInerney (a little pretentious with lots of needlessly big words), but the story reminded me of early Beatriz Williams (i.e. A Hundred Summers). If you read Rieger’s debut (The Divorce Papers), this one is very different.

Something Intense / Fast-Paced

My #1 Pick

Social CreatureSocial Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
Fiction – Literary (Released June 5, 2018)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When Louise, a nobody trying to make it in NYC, meets Lavinia, an outrageous party girl/socialite, they embark on an intense friendship during which Lavinia ends up dead (this is not a spoiler…it’s revealed almost immediately and in the publishers’ blurb!).

My Thoughts: Social Creature is completely ridiculous and messed up, but also addictive and intriguing. This book made me say “holy sh*t” multiple times. This is one demented story and maybe the most messed up book I’ve read since The Roanoke Girls. If you like dark and twisted, Social Creature is for you (but try to go in as blind as possible)! But, fair warning, this book is not for everyone. PS – stick it out to around the halfway point, things really take off from there.

Grist Mill RoadGrist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Released January 9, 2018)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Two and a half decades after Patrick, Hannah, and Matthew were involved in a childhood crime in their hometown of Roseborn, NY, they meet again in New York City and have to grapple with what happened years ago.

My Thoughts: Yates’ debut novel, Black Chalk, was one of my favorite books of 2014 and I had high expectations for his sophomore effort. Though Grist Mill Road wasn’t perfect and I didn’t love it as much as Black Chalk, I couldn’t put it down. It’s part coming of age story (reminiscent of My Sunshine Away) and part psychological thriller, while managing to remain literary (well…until the overly thriller-y ending). Grist Mill Road is a solid choice if you like dark, twisty, literary thrillers about extremely complicated friendships (a la If We Were Villains). Full Review.

Sunburn by Laura LippmanSunburn by Laura Lippman
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Release Date: February 20, 2018)
384 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When Polly and Adam meet at a bar in tiny Belleville, Delaware in the 1990’s each is merely passing through. As they become more enamored with each other, they discover both are keeping secrets.

My Thoughts: Recommended by Annie Jones from From the Front Porch podcast (one of my Go-To Recommendation Sourcesand Megan Abbott (one of my few trusted thriller authors), Sunburn is an unconventional love story where essentially everyone is messing with everyone else. There’s not a single character who is 100% likable or trustworthy (take note if dislikable characters bother you!). Sunburn kept me quickly turning the pages even while sick with the flu! Full Review.

Tangerine by Christine ManganTangerine by Christine Mangan
Fiction – Literary (Released March 20, 2018)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Alice Shipley can’t figure out whether to be relieved or unsettled when her college roommate (Lucy Mason), who she hasn’t spoken to in over a year after a deeply disturbing incident, shows up on her doorstep in Tangier, Morocco, where she’s living with her new husband (John).

My Thoughts: Told in dual perspectives, Mangan’s debut novel is the story of a fraught, obsessive friendship and all the wreckage it leaves behindTangerine is a very specific type of book that I generally adore (and I did in this case!), but that probably isn’t for everyone. It’s kind of a page turner, but not in the traditional sense. It’s taut with emotional and psychological tension and reminded me of Tender (my review), Sunburn (my review), and Based on a True Story (Spoiler Discussion). And, the Moroccan setting makes the story even more enigmatic. P.S. – Don’t be fooled by this cover because Tangerine does not read like historical fiction at all despite the 1950’s time period. Full Review.

The Wife by Alafair BurkeThe Wife by Alafair Burke
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Released January 23, 2018)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: After Angela is plucked out of the Hamptons by her marriage to NYU professor and media personality Jason Powell, two women accuse Jason of misconduct and Angela has to figure out how to protect the most important thing in her life.

My Thoughts: The Wife is part domestic thriller / part legal thriller and is the first domestic thriller I haven’t DNF’d in ages! I read it in a day and a half at the beach and it’s absolutely perfect for that setting. The ending was mostly surprising, yet not outlandish, which is a must for me to like a thriller. I recommend skipping the Prologue, as I thought it gave away too much. Bonus: it deals with a timely topic.

Unraveling OliverUnraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Released August 22, 2017)
272 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When successful children’s book author Oliver Ryan beats his wife into a coma, their friends and acquaintances try to piece together how he could have done it.

My Thoughts: After reading the first line of Unraveling Oliver (“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”), you think you know what you’re getting. You think you’re getting a thriller. You think you know Oliver. You think you’ll unequivocally hate Oliver. But, you don’t know anything. I promise, you’ll be surprised. It’s a story told from different perspectives, a character study that peels back many layers, and all the pieces came together like a symphony.

Something With A Bit More Substance

My #1 Pick

An American Marriage by Tayari JonesAn American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Fiction – Literary (Released February 6, 2018)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When Roy goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit only a year and a half into their new marriage, Celestial must figure out how to cope with his absence and shape her life in the face of this massive upheaval.

My Thoughts: An American Marriage is an intimately written novel that tackles a number of weighty current issues in an organic way…and is one of my favorite novels of 2018 so far! It’s about so many things (marriage, race, class, incarceration, love, friendship, family, grief, fidelity, recovery), but not overwhelmingly about any one of them (kind of like The Mothers). Jones handles them in a way that doesn’t make the book feel overwhelmingly like “an issue book.” And, the last quarter of the book is absolutely riveting. Full Review.

All the Castles BurnedAll the Castles Burned by Michael Nye
Fiction – Literary (Released February 13, 2018)
384 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Owen Webb, a scholarship student at the prestigious Rockcastle School (a private day school for boys) embarks on an obsessive, dangerous friendship with Carson Bly, the son of a wealthy and absent father.

My Thoughts: All the Castles Burned is a classic coming of age story with some dysfunctional family drama, some “outsider enters the realm of the wealthy” dynamics, a foreboding friendship, a father/son angle, a touch of romance, and basketball. You can feel the tension simmering and you know things will explode at some point. I’d recommend this one for fans of Shadow of the Lions (my review) and Unraveling Oliver…and campus novels in general! Full Review.

Educated Tara WestoverEducated by Tara Westover
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released February 20, 2018)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Westover tells her story of growing up in a survivalist Mormon family who didn’t believe in public education and her journey to break the mold by getting her PhD at Cambridge University.

My Thoughts: Imagine if you had to choose between getting an education (both the traditional kind and an education about life in general) and having a relationship with your family. That’s what happened to Tara Westover. Tara’s father insisted the whole family live “off the grid”…with no interaction with the government or modern medicine. There are many parts that are hard to read…and that I’d have found totally unbelievable had this been fiction. If you liked The Glass CastleHillbilly Elegy (my review), and/or Under the Banner of Heaven (my reviewEducated should be next on your list! Full Review.

Female PersuasionThe Female Persuasionby Meg Wolitzer
Fiction – Literary (Released April 3, 2018)
464 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Greer is a shy college student still in love with her high school boyfriend when she meets Faith Frank, an icon of the women’s movement, who changes the trajectory of Greer’s life.

My Thoughts: Meg Wolitzer is one of my very favorite authors, so I’m not entirely surprised that The Female Persuasion is one of my few 5 star books of this year! The Female Persuasion is ultimately a story in which the characters are the stars: Greer, her boyfriend (Cory), her best friend (Zee), and Faith Frank. I was completely enmeshed in these people’s lives and the issues (gender, feminism) this book addresses fit organically around the characters’ stories without overwhelming them (like An American Marriage and The Mothers). Don’t be scared of the 464 pages…I flew through this one in just a few days! Full Review.

Visible EmpireVisible Empire by Hannah Pittard
Historical Fiction (Released June 5, 2018)
288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Following the 1962 plane crash at Orly Airport that killed over 100 Atlanta art patrons (a massive chunk of the city’s social elite), Atlanta citizens connected to the crash must figure out who to recover amid the Civil Rights Movement.

My Thoughts: In Visible Empire, Pittard uses the true story of the Orly plane crash as the big event that ties lots of disparate people and perspectives together (and the opening chapters recounting the crash are riveting) to create a portrait of Atlanta in the 1960’s. Pittard gives us a sort of gossipy take on the impact of the crash on Atlanta’s elite and those who come in contact with them. I felt like this would be the book that Dominick Dunne (former Vanity Fair columnist and author of “fictional” novels about real life crimes involving the wealthy) would have written about the crash…and it reminded me of a less epic A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe (R.I.P.).

Something Different

My #1 Pick

Tell Me More by Kelly CorriganTell Me More by Kelly Corrigan
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released January 9, 2018)
256 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Random House)

Plot Summary: Corrigan’s memoir is organized around the “12 hardest things she’s learning to say,” including “No,” “I don’t know,” and “I Was Wrong.”

My Thoughts: I absolutely adored (it’s my favorite 2018 nonfiction so far!) this memoir that spoke to me in a “yes, that’s exactly how it is” way. She covers many big life issues (marriage, motherhood, illness, religion, friendship, grief, and loss) in a relatable and irreverently funny way. Corrigan is a welcome addition to my “women who get women” club (current members include Anna Quindlen, Ann Patchett, and Cheryl Strayed) and I’d highly recommend Tell Me More to anyone who loved Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake or This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Full Review.

Laura and EmmaLaura & Emma by Kate Greathead
Fiction – Literary (Released March 13, 2018)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Laura, the somewhat quirky daughter of a blue-blood Upper East Side family, becomes pregnant after a one-night stand and wrestles with how to raise her daughter.

My Thoughts: The key to loving Laura & Emma is loving Laura’s voice and the writing style (which I did)…because there isn’t a ton of action to propel the story. Laura is offbeat, but likable and funny in an awkward way (she reminded me of a less damaged version of Eleanor Oliphant). The story is told in vignettes both momentous and mundane, which might turn some people off, but these hung together quite well to form a cohesive story (e.g. similar to Goodbye, Vitamin). P.S. – there’s an kooky, entertaining grandmother…always a plus in my reading! Full Review.

Heating and CoolingHeating and Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released October 10, 2017)
112 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: In a series of tiny chapters (some only a single paragraph), Fennelly shares anecdotes from her life.

My Thoughts: This memoir is told in a totally unique format…actually a number of different formats (short essays, single paragraphs or sentences, a poem, etc) collected into one volume. It’s clever and witty and random, but delightfully random. It’s a 100% “real life” book. She touches on marriage, parenthood, her writing career, her Catholic upbringing (Catholics beware – she sort of skewers them), and everyday life. It’s the perfect choice for a time when you’re distracted or don’t have much reading time…and would make a perfect “bathroom book” (i.e. the book that sits on the back of the toilet to be picked up by whoever sits down).

Red NoticeRed Notice by Bill Browder
Nonfiction – Business (Released February 3, 2015)
380 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: The true story Browder’s experience as one of the first foreign investors in Russia after the fall of Communism and widespread privatization.

My Thoughts: You might think the premise of Red Notice sounds boring. Let me assure you…it’s not. It’s a financial thriller (if there is such a thing) that reads like fiction and kept me quickly turning the pages…while giving a fascinating picture of Russian culture in the Post-Communism era. During the course of his investing, Browder made a ton of money, partnered with billionaire Edmond Safra, angered some oligarchs via his anti-corruption battles, showed some serious guts, and ended up in a knockdown, drag-out battle with Putin and the Russian regime. Think a cross between Michael Lewis, Dominick Dunne, and the TV show Billions.

Tiger WoodsTiger Woods by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
Nonfiction – Sports (Released March 27, 2018)
512 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: The new biography of the ex-World #1 golfer, including his fall from grace.

My Thoughts: You’ve probably heard much of the scoop in this book before (especially if you’re a golf fan), but mostly in little snippets over the course of his whole career. Benedict and Keteyian put all this together to paint a complete picture of Tiger as a person and an athlete. I found myself psycho-analyzing him right along with the authors. It’s a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of an elite athlete in the limelight who has been trained as a machine…and sorely under-trained as a whole person. PS – Bill Simmons, one of my favorite sports writers/podcasters, loved this book and read it in a few sittings.

You Think It, I'll Say ItYou Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld
Fiction – Short Stories (Released April 24, 2018)
256 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Novelist Curtis Sittenfeld’s (author of PrepAmerican Wife, and Eligible) first short story collection.

My Thoughts: Short stories are not my thing, but this collection is unquestionably 5 stars for me! The stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It are mostly about otherwise normal relationships that have a hidden element of unconventionality or an awkward incident. They’re normal situations that end up taking unexpected turns…they’re relatable, yet surprising. I was completely invested in the characters in every story, which is a rarity for me with short stories. If you’ve been hesitant to try short stories, You Think It, I’ll Say It is a perfect first collection! Full Review.

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

May 1, 2018 Book Recommendations 23

book of the month May 2018

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, but I’m also a paying customer.

 

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).

I’m not over the moon about this month’s selections, but am hesitantly interested in two of them. As a follow-up to last month’s selections, I’m over halfway through The Girl Who Smiled Beads (one of my April choices) and it’s powerful as predicted. 

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 April 2018 Selections

book of the month May 2018 SelectionsSmall Country by Gael Faye (Release Date: June 5, 2018)
224 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.37 on 2,101 ratings
Selected By: Liberty Hardy (co-host of Book Riot‘s All the Books podcast)

A prize-winning bestseller in its native France, a vivid and evocative coming-of-age tale, set against the backdrop of the Rwandan genocide and the civil war in Burundi, of a young boy’s childhood innocence shattered by the brutal tides of history.

In 1992, Gabriel, ten years old, lives in Burundi in a comfortable expatriate neighborhood with his French father, his Rwandan mother and his little sister, Ana. In this joyful idyll, Gabriel spends the better part of his time with his mischievous band of friends, in a tiny cul-de-sac they have turned into their kingdom. But their peaceful existence will suddenly shatter when this small African country is brutally battered by history.

My Thoughts:
Faye grew up in Burundi and fled with his family to France when the Rwandan genocide broke out. Small Country is his debut novel and it sounds like this novel could be somewhat autobiographical. It’s already caused a sensation in France, becoming a bestseller and winning multiple literary awards. Goodreads reviews (most of which were in French, so I’m pulling from the English ones) said it’s beautiful, moving, powerful, emotional, and heart-wrenching. One reviewer said it was the best debut novel she’d read in years. Some also said the writing got a little overly poetic at times. Sounds like this one is emotionally tough to read, but the payoff is big if you can handle it. Fun fact: Faye is also a rapper and songwriter. PS – I’m in the middle of The Girl Who Smiled Beads (an April Book of the Month selection) right now and it also deals with being a refugee from the Rwandan genocide, but from a nonfiction perspective.

book of the month may 2018How To Walk Away by Katherine Center (Release Date: May 15, 2018)
320 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.38 on 459 ratings
Selected By: Taylor Jenkins Reid (Author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and more)

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.

My Thoughts:
By the author of Happiness for BeginnersHow To Walk Away is that rare heart-warming novel (which, to be honest, is not usually my jam). Jan B. (a blog reader and Goodreads reviewer whose taste I generally agree with) says, “the focus of this heartwarming novel is how Margaret copes with the hand she’s been dealt” and she recommends it for readers who “enjoy humorous character-driven feel-good novels.” Renee at It’s Book Talk (one of my favorite book bloggers, though she’s currently on hiatus) said it was a page-turner and had an interesting cast of supporting characters; however, she thought the ending went off the rails. Other Goodreads reviewers called it a palate cleanser and emphasized that it’s not a depressing book at all despite the tragic premise…many called it inspirational. It’s also been blurbed by Emily Giffin and Jenny Lawson, but I’m always a little skeptical of author blurbs. I peeked at the first few pages and liked the writing style and was drawn into the story…I’m looking forward to continuing  with it soon!

book of the month may 2018The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy (Release Date: May 1, 2018)
336 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.92 on 262 ratings
Selected By: Guest Judge Jaime King (Actress)

An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. […]

When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. […]

Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.

My Thoughts:
The Perfect Mother is this month’s obligatory psychological thriller (it’s also a debut) and it’s going to be a movie starring Scandal‘s Kerry Washington. Goodreads reviewers called it addictive, unputdownable, and a “popcorn” read. They mentioned it has multiple perspectives (apparently LOTS of perspectives in this case), which gets a bit confusing at times. Some said the ending came as a complete surprise, while others said they saw it coming. It’s a May Library Reads pick (which I usually have good luck with) and was blurbed by B.A. Paris (author of Behind Closed Doors) and Kimberly McCreight (author of Reconstructing Amelia). Andrea at Born and Read in Chicago (a blogger I follow) said it was a fluffy domestic thriller and reminded her of The Couple Next Door. She also said it had an “interesting take on the hard work that is motherhood: with equal parts satire and seriousness.” Here’s her full review.

Mars RoomThe Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (Released: May 1, 2018)
352 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.61 on 178 ratings
Selected By: Siobhan Jones (Book of the Month Editorial Director)

It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision.

My Thoughts:
I’ve gotten completely conflicting opinions about The Mars Room from two of my most trusted recommendation sources (go figure!). Susie at Novel Visits thought it was “way overhyped” and said it “felt like a mishmash of stories with no real core” because “Kushner spent a lot of time on the background/crimes/life of other inmates, a tutor at the prison, and male inmates in another prisons.” On the other hand, Tyler Goodson called it “masterful and unforgettable” and said it was one of the best books of 2018 for sure. Goodreads reviews tend to mirror Susie and Tyler…either 4 or 5 stars or 2 stars without much in between. Some said it was disjointed, aloof, and lacked connection, while others said it was candid and raw. Not surprisingly, The Mars Room comes with considerable commentary on social justice and the prison system.

Still Lives Still Lives by Maria Hummel (Release Date: June 5, 2018)
288 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.28 on 36 ratings
Selected By: Book of the Month Readers Committee member Sarah Bedwell

A young editor at a Los Angeles art museum finds herself pulled into the disturbing and dangerous world of a famous artist who goes missing on the opening night of her exhibition. […]

Suspicion falls upon the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie’s ex. A rogue’s gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord’s disappearance, she’ll come to suspect all of those closest to her.

Set against a culture that too often fetishizes violence against women, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.

My Thoughts:
Still Lives is a literary crime novel set in the Los Angeles art world. It’s recommended for readers of Donna Tartt, Emma Cline, and Tana French…authors you don’t see together too often on read-alike lists, which is intriguing. Goodreads reviewers said it’s a bit slow in the first half, but picks up to be a thrilling page turner. They said it’s smart and has a pleasantly surprising ending. However, they also said there are too many characters to keep track of. I’m intrigued by this one, but would like to hear from some trusted recommendation sources before picking it up.

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

If I didn’t already have an ARC of How To Walk Away, I’d choose that one since it’s been recommended by two trusted sources. However, I’m going to skip this month since I already have the ARC.

I’m also interested in Still Lives, but would like to hear from some trusted recommendation sources before jumping on it.

Make your Book of the Month selections by Sunday, May 6th.

What book will you choose this month?

This Month’s Special Deals

MOTHER’S DAY DEAL: Give a gift and get a free month for yourself! And, check out their Best Books for Mom list for some ideas. 

NEW MEMBER DEAL: Anyone who purchases a new BOTM subscription will get their first month free! Use code YESPLZ.

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.

Sign up for a Book of the Month membership (NEW pricing below)!

New members will sign up for a membership that renews monthly:

A book of your choice for $14.99 / month
Add extra books to your shipment for $9.99 each
Skip any month you want
Free shipping, always

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Readers Recommend: Cost, Sparta, and An American Marriage

April 12, 2018 Book Recommendations 19

Readers Recommend Diana Mack

 

Welcome to the second installment of Readers Recommend, my new monthly feature where “regular readers” (i.e. readers who do not have their own book blogs) share their book recommendations!

I recently surveyed my blog readers for the first time and one of the most surprising things I learned was that over 70% of you do not have your own book blogs. This means you are not book bloggers, but “regular readers”! That’s a large chunk of Sarah’s Book Shelves readers with fantastic book recommendations floating around in their heads and no place to share them. I’m thrilled to be able to mine all this brainpower for some great books! Prepare for your TBR to explode…

If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming “Readers Recommend” post, leave a note in the comments section or email me at sarahsbookshelves@gmail.com.

Last month‘s guest (Brittany) was a huge hit! Let’s get rolling with our second guest…

Get to Know Diana

  • Home: I live in a medium sized town about 30 minutes west of Chicago. As I’m writing this, snow is falling but the forecast still says 70 degrees for Thursday and Friday!
  • Career: I’m an x-ray tech for a large corporation. I’ve been there 30+  years. For close to 30 years, I was in an orthopedic office; we were sold to the corporation about 4 years ago. The changes have brought me full circle in my career: I’m back to working weekends, nights and holidays. Such is life!
  • Hobbies: I’m happily married with 3 kids ages 18-22, who are all still at home doing the work/school thing.  I love reading, playing with my dogs and, if the 70 degrees happens, my husband and I will be on our bikes. I also make great chocolate chip cookies…I’m convinced chocolate chips make a happy home!
  • Favorite TV Show: I love Outlander and This is Us. I missed the whole second season of This is Us, but I guess that means I’ll get to binge-watch it!

Diana Recommends…

Old Loves

Sparta, Cost

 

Spartaby Roxana Robinson
Fiction (Released June 4, 2013)
386 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Cost by Roxana Robinson
Fiction (Released January 1, 2008)
416 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Diana:
Sparta is the story of an Iraq vet, Conrad, returning home. His efforts to reconnect and assimilate just made for a great story. Cost is the story of Julia Lambert and her efforts to connect with her family. Unfortunately, her son Jack is a heroin addict. My husband’s nephew is a heroin addict and I got chills reading this. Everything Jack did/thought/said was spot on for a drug addiction.

My Take:
This author and these books are totally new to me…I hadn’t heard of or read either of them! But, both sound really intriguing. I’ve been interested in PTSD in returning soldiers ever since reading David Frankel’s excellent nonfiction profiles of many of the men of US 2-16 Infantry Battalion after they returned from Baghdad, Thank You For Your Service. And, Cost is apparently about a totally normal family who is shattered by their son’s heroin addiction. I’ve heard multiple real-life stories about kids who had what many would consider idyllic childhoods falling into heroin addiction and would like to learn more about that (despite having young kids and this whole thing terrifying me). Plus, Jami Attenberg (author of Saint Mazie and All Grown Up) gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.

A New Love

An American Marriage by Tayari JonesAn American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Fiction – Literary (Released February 6, 2018)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Diana:
An African American couple is split apart by a crime the husband didn’t commit. I think this was one of the first books I have read that made me see through an African American’s eyes. I didn’t like the main character, Celestial, but I also wouldn’t want to have to make her choices. And Roy? How does one reconcile to such changes in circumstance and to the dashing of dreams? Highly, highly recommended.

My Take:
Many of y’all know I LOVED this one too! I’d be shocked if it wasn’t one of my Best Books of 2018 come December (a LOT would have to happen between now and then for it to be knocked off the list) and it’s one of my Top 3 books of 2018 so far. Check out my full review for more details. By the way, if you’re looking for a book club selection, this is my #1 choice at the moment.

Diana Does NOT Recommend…

Lincoln in the Bardo, Fates and Furies, Life After Life

 

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Fiction – Literary (Released February 14, 2017)
343 Pages

Diana: 
Who were all the characters? What was the point of this?

My Take:
Haha! I didn’t read this one, despite all the accolades it received from the literary community. As Diana said, “all the characters” is something I heard about it and it definitely scared me away. I’m at a stage of life (I have young kids…I’m often reading with them around me making noise and asking me questions) right now where I find it hard to concentrate deeply on complicated books, so this one did not sound up my alley. Diana, I love your candor!

Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff
Fiction – Literary (Released September 15, 2015)
400 Pages

Diana: 
Boring and silly characters. Won’t read anything by her again.

My Take:
Still loving Diana’s candor…no messing around with mincing words! I was super conflicted about this one. I found the first half slow and boring, but the second half blew my mind. I remember wishing I could rate the two halves of the book separately. Now that some time has passed, I do have a more positive overall view of it (especially her gorgeous writing) than I did when I read it and I am looking forward to her short story collection coming in June. Check out my full review for more details.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Fiction – Literary (Released March 14, 2013)
513 Pages 

Diana: 
I have her other books on my shelves. This one was so long and boring I’m thinking I should just give them away.

My Take:
I haven’t read this one, but did read Atkinson’s Case Histories a long time ago. I remember literally nothing about it, but my spreadsheet tells me I didn’t like it.

What do you think of Diana’s recommendations (or her “Didn’t Love”)? Have you read any of them? Adding any to your TBR lists?

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

April 1, 2018 Book Recommendations 12

Book of the Month April 2018 Selections

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, but I’m also a paying customer.

 

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).

First, I’m sorry for recommending Not That I Could Tell from last month’s selections…I read it and was fairly bored (I rated it 2.5 stars). Hopefully, I’ll do better this month! This month’s selections didn’t appeal to me at first glance, but after doing some research, I’m now interested in two of them!

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 April 2018 Selections

Girl Who Smiled BeadsThe Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clementine Wamariya (Release Date: April 26, 2018)
288 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.46 on 117 ratings
Selected By: Etaf Rum (Book of the Month Brand Ambassador )

A riveting story of dislocation, survival, and the power of the imagination to save us

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were “thunder.” It was 1994, and in 100 days more than 800,000 people would be murdered in Rwanda and millions more displaced. Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, ran and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries searching for safety–hiding under beds, foraging for food, surviving and fleeing refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing unimaginable cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were alive.

At age twelve, Clementine, along with Claire, was granted asylum in the United States–a chance to build a new life. […]

My Thoughts:
The Girl Who Smiled Beads is a memoir that came out of this article on Medium, which went viral and immediately sucked me in. Goodreads readers said it’s powerful, painful, and hard to read. It’s written in dual timelines, alternating chapters about Wamariya’s childhood in Rwanda with her present-day life in the U.S. A few Goodreads readers mentioned that the chapters sometimes read like snippets, feeling a bit unfinished. It was called a “must read” by Library Journal (one of my Go-To Recommendation Sources) and was included on their April picks list. And, Nicole Bonia of The Readerly Report podcast (another Go-To Recommendation Source) rated it 5 stars.

Our Kind of CrueltyOur Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall (Release Date: May 8, 2018)
288 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.05 on 288 ratings
Selected By: Siobhan Jones (Book of the Month Editorial Director)

Mike knows that most of us travel through the world as one half of a whole, desperately searching for that missing person to make us complete.
But he and Verity are different. They have found each other and nothing and no one will tear them apart.
It doesn’t matter that Verity is marrying another man.
You see, Verity and Mike play a game together, a secret game they call ‘the crave’, the aim being to demonstrate what they both know: that Verity needs Mike, and only Mike.
Verity’s upcoming marriage is the biggest game she and Mike have ever played. And it’s for the highest stakes.
Except this time in order for Mike and Verity to be together someone has to die …

My Thoughts:
This is another buzzy thriller that was compared to You by Caroline Kepnes by multiple Goodreads reviewers. Goodreads reviewers also said it was dark, gritty, full of crazy and dislikable characters, similar to other books, and predictable. They also mentioned it was partly told from a deranged stalker’s perspective. Gillian Flynn called it “simply one of the nastiest and most disturbing thrillers I’ve read in years.” A.J. Finn (author of The Woman in the Window) called it “a perfect nightmare of a novel.”

CirceCirce by Madeline Miller (Release Date: April 10, 2018)
400 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.44 on 450 ratings
Selected By: 
Liberty Hardy (co-host of Book Riot‘s All the Books podcast)

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

My Thoughts:
Circe is the follow-up to Miller’s The Song of Achilles, but apparently has less of a romantic storyline than Achilles. Goodreads reviewers said it’s fantasy that reads like an historical fiction novel and has adventure, betrayal, violence, and magic, but is ultimate the story of one woman’s life. Other words they used to describe it: spellbinding, captivating, and perfect. Most importantly, Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books (one of my Go-To Recommendation Sources) is reading it right now and said the story is fabulous, she keeps reading sentences over and over again, and that she’s head over heels in love. And, Ann Patchett (one of my all-time favorite authors) called it “an epic spanning thousands of years that’s also a keep-you-up-all-night page turner.”

Then She Was Gone Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell (Released: April 17, 2018)
368 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.37 on 6,146 ratings
Selected By: 
Laura Whitelaw (Book of the Month Readers Committee Member)

Ten years after her teenage daughter disappears, a woman crosses paths with a charming single father whose young child feels eerily familiar, in this evocative, suspenseful drama from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell—perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Liane Moriarty.

My Thoughts:
The second thriller / mystery of this month’s picks. Goodreads reviewers said it was fast-paced, dark, disturbing, had a predictable storyline, had a number of unlikely coincidences, but also had a touching ending (a rarity for a thriller). They also mentioned it was told from multiple perspectives. It was included on the Library Journal (one of my Go-To Recommendation Sources) April picks list.

Oracle YearThe Oracle Year by Charles Soule (Release Date: April 3, 2018)
416 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.13 on 68 ratings
Selected By: Samantha Irby (Author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and Blogger)

From bestselling comic-book franchise writer Charles Soule comes a clever and witty first novel of a twenty-something New Yorker who wakes up one morning with the power to predict the future—perfect for fans of Joe Hill and Brad Meltzer, or books like This Book Is Full of Spiders and Welcome to Night Vale.

My Thoughts:
This one sounds somewhat Science Fiction-y and has also been described as a thriller. Goodreads reviewers said it’s a fun read with an eclectic cast of characters. That is has a fast-paced plot with an action-movie feel and really takes off in the second half, but does have some loose ends. I’ve seen multiple comparisons to Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter. It’s also an Amazon Best Book of April 2018.

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

I’m going to choose Circe and The Girl Who Smiled Beads!

Despite the fact that I’m not into Greek mythology at all, the high praise (especially from highly trusted recommendation sources) convinced me to give Circe a go! And, the Medium article that spawned The Girl Who Smiled Beads completely drew me in and made me want to read more, so I’m tacking that one on too.

Make your Book of the Month selections by Friday, April 6th.

What book will you choose this month?

This Month’s Special Deals

NEW MEMBER DEAL: Anyone who purchases a new BOTM subscription will get their first month free! Use code YESPLZ.

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.

Sign up for a Book of the Month membership (NEW pricing below)!

New members will sign up for a membership that renews monthly:

A book of your choice for $14.99 / month
Add extra books to your shipment for $9.99 each
Skip any month you want
Free shipping, always

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Readers Recommend: I Capture the Castle and My Life With Bob

March 8, 2018 Book Recommendations 37

Readers Recommend

 

Welcome to the first ever installment of Readers Recommend, my new monthly feature where “regular readers” (i.e. readers who do not have their own book blogs) share their book recommendations! 

I recently surveyed my blog readers for the first time and one of the most surprising things I learned was that over 70% of you do not have your own book blogs. This means you are not book bloggers, but “regular readers”! That’s a large chunk of Sarah’s Book Shelves readers with fantastic book recommendations floating around in their heads and no place to share them. I’m thrilled to be able to mine all this brainpower for some great books! Prepare for your TBR to explode…

If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming “Readers Recommend” post, leave a note in the comments section or email me at sarahsbookshelves@gmail.com.

Let’s welcome our first guest…

Get to Know Brittany

  • Home: I live with my husband and two elderly dogs (Mavis the pitbull and Ginger the chihuahua) in a small college town in Texas.
  • Career: [I’m] working on my PhD in Industrial Engineering. My research uses mathematical modeling to capture the uncertainty inherent in real-world problems. (Sarah: sounds like we have another Malcolm Gladwell in the making!)
  • Hobbies: I’ve recently taken up boxing, and punching bags really hard is an incredibly satisfying workout. On the weekends, you’ll find my husband and me camping or hunting for the best tacos around town.
  • Favorite TV Show: I’m definitely a sitcom junkie, but my current favorite shows are Frasier and Life in Pieces.

Brittany Recommends…

An Old Love

I Capture the CastleI Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Fiction (Released 1948)
343 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brittany:
I have so many backlisted favorites, but I’d love to share one that people I know seem not to have heard of. You might not think that a book written in the 40’s could make you laugh out loud, and you’d be so, so wrong. The narrator, Cassandra, is charming and hilarious while also being kind and insightful. As she grows and ages, the writing becomes sadder and wiser, but I promise you will fall in love with the Mortmain family. Plus, if you enjoy scenic books, you’ll adore reading about the family’s crumbling English castle surrounded by a chilly moat in the countryside.

My Take:
You’re right, Brittany…I hadn’t even heard of this one! But, when I checked it out on Goodreads, I realized hoards of my friends had read it and loved it. How did I miss the boat?! I love some humor in my reading and really should read more classics than I do, so it’s going on the TBR.

A New Love

My Life with Bob by Pamela PaulMy Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released May 2, 2017)
242 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Brittany:
Candidly, I don’t read too many new releases until they are technically no longer new releases, but one book that I have read and was pleasantly surprised by is My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul. The book is basically a memoir that focuses on the readerly bits of Paul’s life, or maybe it’s just a look at her life through a readerly lens; either way, it’s the sort of stuff that you and I would find interesting. Paul’s writing sometimes borders on pretentious, but mostly it’s just endearing and relatable to fellow readers.

My Take:
I actually tried this one and loved some parts…particularly where she focuses on her early reading life. But, the pretentiousness Brittany mentioned did get to me after awhile and I abandoned it at 42%.

A “Didn’t Love”

A Man Called Ove, Frederick BackmanA Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
Fiction – Literary (Released August 27, 2012)
337 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brittany:
For fear of spoiling the book for those of you who haven’t read it, I’ll just say that I don’t care for books that rely on sad or heavy-handed character tropes to move the reader. The writing wasn’t strong or graceful enough to carry the plot (or characters), so I finished the book feeling like it was emotionally manipulative without having any real depth. 

My Take:
I was in the “no” camp on this mega-bestseller as well. I actually DNF’d it pretty early on. While the opening scene of Ove at the computer store had me laughing out loud, I quickly got tired of his curmudgeonly schtick. However, and this is a big however, I ADORED Backman’s latest novel, Beartown (my review). Definitely read that one!

What do you think of Brittany’s recommendations (or her “Didn’t Love”)?

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

March 1, 2018 Book Recommendations 18

Book of the Month March 2018

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, but I’m also a paying customer.


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).

I hadn’t heard of any of these selections before…but, judging from the reaction to last month‘s overly well-known picks, this might be a good thing. After doing a bit of research, I’m now interested in a couple!

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!

SPECIAL NOTE:
For those of you who followed the uproar last month when Book of the Month removed the judges’ endorsements from the February selections…Book of the Month has brought the judges back…kind of. There won’t be a 5 judge panel like we’re used to, but we will see judges make appearances mixed in with “editorial team [members], brand ambassadors, members, and members of our Readers Committee.” Kind of annoying for those of us who have been following specific judges for awhile and know who our Go-To Judges are, but we’ll have to see how things go. Check out more details of how Book of the Month chooses the monthly selections and their rationale for making changes in how the selections are presented.

Book of the Month March 2018 Selections

Not That I Could TellNot That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser (Release Date: March 27, 2018)
320 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.09 on 261 ratings
Selected By: Elizabeth Mitchell (Readers Committee Member)

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal. By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. […] As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

My Thoughts:
Doesn’t the description for this one sound like Big Little Lies?! And, Goodreads reviewers mentioned it would be a good choice for fans of Liane Moriarty. They also said it was an easy, quick read and that the story was told from several points of view. Amy at Read a Latte (a blogger I trust) says it “is not quite a thriller. It’s more an examination of the lives of these women, and the questions that circulate when a perceived perfect neighborhood starts to show cracks.” This one sounds up my alley, especially since I’m on the hunt for lighter reads. 

Astonishing Color of AfterThe Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (Release Date: March 20, 2018)
480 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.5 on 136 ratings
Selected By: Liberty Hardy (co-host of Book Riot‘s All the Books podcast)

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

My Thoughts:
This is a debut YA (Young Adult) novel by a Midwest author born to Taiwanese immigrant parents. Goodreads reviewers said it’s heartbreaking, beautiful, has a bit of magical realism, gorgeous writing, and a half Asian/half white main character. They also mentioned Chinese/Taiwanese culture and depression are major themes. John Green called it “brilliantly crafted, harrowing and a very special book.” Gayle Forman called it “inventive and heart-wrenching.” The few critical reviews I found on Goodreads mentioned having trouble with a literary device where emotions are labeled with colors.

Rainbirds Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan (Release Date: March 6, 2018)
336 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.1 on 84 ratings
Selected By: 
Siobhan Jones (Book of the Month Editorial Director)

Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan.

Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister Keiko’s sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.

As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death.

My Thoughts:
Clarissa Goenawan is apparently a rising Singaporean literary star and Rainbirds is her debut. Set in 1990’s, Rainbirds is part whodunnit and part ghost story. Goodreads reviewers frequently compared it to Haruki Murakami’s style. They also said it has a minimalist writing style (which is very Japanese), a hint of magical realism, a brooding atmosphere, and that grief is a major theme. Many said it was quiet, yet hard to put down, and that the mystery is a minor plot element (i.e. the story is more about Ren finding himself and getting to know his sister posthumously). Some found the ending frustrating. Rainbirds was on Bustle’s Most Anticipated Book of 2018, Huffington Post’s 60 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018, and received a starred review from Library Journal. If you like serious literary fiction, this one’s for you!

Other People's HousesOther People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman (Release Date: April 3, 2018)
352 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.97 on 111 ratings
Selected By: 
Skye Sherman (Brand Ambassador)

The author of The Garden of Small Beginnings returns with a hilarious and poignant new novel about four families, their neighborhood carpool, and the affair that changes everything.

My Thoughts: Other People’s Houses sounds like light fiction (i.e. Brain Candy) and the plot actually sounds somewhat similar to Not That I Could Tell (and Desperate Housewives!). It was blurbed by Emily Giffin, so you know that means it’s fairly light reading. Goodreads reviewers mentioned that it’s told from multiple points of view, has snarky, irreverent humor, and dysfunctional families. Many of the negative reviews mentioned extremely harsh language and raunchy sex talk that was over the top and unnecessary. This type of raunchy humor is apparently her trademark and it seems to be a love it or hate it kind of thing. Finally, some that loved her debut (The Garden of Small Beginnings) were underwhelmed by her follow-up. Sounds like you need to have a specific sense of humor to appreciate this one.

Last Equation of Isaac SeveryThe Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs (Release Date: March 6, 2018)
352 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.06 on 53 ratings
Selected By: Sophia Bush (Actress)

The Family Fang meets The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry in this literary mystery about a struggling bookseller whose recently deceased grandfather, a famed mathematician, left behind a dangerous equation for her to track down—and protect—before others can get their hands on it. 

My Thoughts:
The Last Equation of Isaac Severy is a debut novel with a treasure hunt vibe whose premise sounds like Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. However, some Goodreads reviewers debunked the comparisons to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Penumbra because the bookstore is apparently a minor plot point compared to the eccentric family and the math. They also said there is a lot going on in the beginning with the plot (to the point where some couldn’t make heads or tails of what was going on), but that things eventually clicked. 

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

I’m going to choose Not That I Could Tell!

The premise sounds intriguing, it sounds like it could be a good candidate for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide and, most importantly, a blogger I trust (Amy at Read a Latte) gave it 5 stars.

Make your Book of the Month Club selections by Tuesday, March 6th.

What book will you choose this month?

This Month’s Special Deals

In addition to the five February selections, Book of the Month Club is offering one extra this month (which Book of the Month Club members can add to their boxes for only $9.99 each):

NEW MEMBER DEAL: Anyone who purchases a new BOTM subscription will get their first month free! Use code YESPLZ.

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.

Sign up for a Book of the Month membership (NEW pricing below)!

New members will sign up for a membership that renews monthly:

A book of your choice for $14.99 / month
Add extra books to your shipment for $9.99 each
Skip any month you want
Free shipping, always

Get Weekly Email Updates!

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

February 1, 2018 Book Recommendations 20

Book of the Month February 2018 selections

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, but I’m also a paying customer.


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).

After skipping the past two months, I’m thrilled about the February selections! I’ve read (and loved) one and am partway through (and am really liking) a second. Book of the Month is also honoring Black History Month with one selection by an African American author (An American Marriage) and this month’s add-on (Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward).

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

If you missed it, 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!

SPECIAL NOTE: The February selections have now been publicly announced and the judges who picked each book have still not been revealed as usual. This is odd. I have tweeted BOTM and emailed their customer service to figure out what’s going on. But, I remember receiving an email that they were making some changes to how they were announcing new selections. I don’t remember judges being specifically mentioned, but I suspect the missing judges have to do with this change. If you’d like to see them include the judges in their monthly selection announcements, email member.services@bookofthemonth.com. I have to believe the more people they hear from, the more likely they’ll be to include the judges again!

Book of the Month February 2018 Selections

Great Alone by Kristin HannahThe Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (Release Date: February 6, 2018)
448 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.22 on 445 ratings
Selected By: Oh no…BOTM didn’t include the judges this month! See special note above.

Alaska, 1974. Cora Allbright and her husband Ernt, a recently-returned Vietnam veteran scarred by the war, uproot their thirteen-year-old daughter Leni to start a new life in Alaska. Utterly unprepared for the weather and the isolation, but welcomed by the close-knit community, they fight to build a home in this harsh, beautiful wilderness.

My Thoughts:
Many of you probably know Kristin Hannah from her previous novel, the blockbuster The Nightingale. Early reports are that her latest effort is excellent as well. I’m about 25% in and I love the focus on the Alaskan setting. Overall, I’m liking it, but it’s not blowing me out of the water…it’s definitely not fast-paced. Susie at Novel Visits was totally immersed throughout and loved the writing, the characterization, the storyline, and the amazing feeling for life in Alaska. However, she thought the ending “felt a bit forced.” Goodreads reviewers pretty much echoed Susie’s thoughts. Note that there are some triggers in this book that may be hard to read for some. 

UPDATE: I DNF’d The Great Alone yesterday at 37%. I just got bored and also got super frustrated with Cora’s decision-making. 

Still Me by JoJo MoyesStill Me by JoJo Moyes (Release Date: January 30, 2018)
400 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.16 on 267 ratings
Selected By: Oh no…BOTM didn’t include the judges this month! See special note above.

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.

As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

My Thoughts:
Still Me is the third installment of the Me Before You series. I loved Me Before You, but I haven’t read either of the second two books. Goodreads reviewers were either hooked from the very first line and loved it because they loved Lou and will read as much as they can starring her…or thought it was just okay and felt the series probably didn’t need another book. 

Broken Girls by Simone St. JamesThe Broken Girls by Simone St. James (Release Date: March 20, 2018)
336 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.32 on 171 ratings
Selected By: Oh no…BOTM didn’t include the judges this month! See special note above.

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced.

My Thoughts:
Another thriller with “Girls” in the title…whoopee (that was sarcastic…)! This one is being billed as part ghost story, part suspenseful thriller and seems to be a departure from St. James’s other books. For anyone that normally doesn’t go for the paranormal stuff (me!), Goodreads reviewers said that part is not overwhelming and I saw multiple reviews by people who said they don’t normally like paranormal, but did like this book. Goodreads reviewers also categorized it as “Gothic suspense” and said some parts are “dark and disturbing.” It’s gotten blurbs from Karen White (The House on Tradd Street Series, The Sound of Glass) and Fiona Barton (The Child, The Widow).

An American Marriage by Tayari JonesAn American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Release Date: February 6, 2018)
320 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.25 on 104 ratings
Selected By: Oh no…BOTM didn’t include the judges this month! See special note above.

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined.

My Thoughts: I was thrilled to see An American Marriage among these selections because it’s my favorite novel of 2018 so far! It tackles a number of weighty themes, but in a completely organic way. It’s about marriage, friendship, race, class, grief, incarceration, etc, but not overwhelmingly about any one of them (kind of like The Mothers). The writing isn’t “gorgeous” in the traditional sense, rather it’s casual, intimate, and has personality…and I loved it. The story builds gradually and the last quarter is absolutely riveting. Others’ opinions: Nicole Bonia from The Readerly Report Podcast also loved it, while Renee at It’s Book Talk (who I normally agree with, but didn’t in this case) didn’t. Warning: go into this book as blind as you can. The publisher’s summary revealed way too much in my view (I edited it out of the in this post).

Philosopher's Flight by Tom MillerThe Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller (Release Date: February 13, 2018)
432 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.3 on 75 ratings
Selected By: Oh no…BOTM didn’t include the judges this month! See special note above.

A thrilling debut from ER doctor turned novelist Tom Miller, The Philosopher’s Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art.

Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women.

My Thoughts:
Wow – this book sounds overwhelming. It’s a genre mash-up of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, and Historical Fiction…with some gender politics thrown in. It’s been compared to Lev Grossman (The Magicians) and said to have elements of Harry Potter. Goodreads readers say it’s fun, has well developed characters, great world-building, and great writing, but is lacking in suspense and contains lots of jargon that tripped some people up. This selection is not up my alley at all, but maybe it’s up yours!

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

I’m going to choose An American Marriage!

I’ve already read it (in e-book format), but I’d like a hard copy for my shelves!

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

What book will you choose this month?

This Month’s Special Deals

In addition to the five February selections, Book of the Month Club is offering one extra this month (which Book of the Month Club members can add to their boxes for only $9.99 each):

NEW MEMBER DEAL: Anyone who purchases a new BOTM subscription will get their first month free! Use code YESPLZ.

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.

Sign up for a Book of the Month membership (NEW pricing below)!

New members will sign up for a membership that renews monthly:

A book of your choice for $14.99 / month
Add extra books to your shipment for $9.99 each
Skip any month you want
Free shipping, always

Get Weekly Email Updates!

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

January 1, 2018 Book Recommendations 26

Book of the Month January 2018 Selections

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, but I’m also a paying customer.


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).

The January picks include a number of judges departing from their usual types of selections. We have a massively hyped psychological thriller, a police procedural, a feel-good love story, a historical fiction set during the Spanish Flu epidemic, and yet another The Handmaid’s Tale copycat. I can’t say I’m super psyched about these selections.

Fantastic news…the Book of the Month “Book of the Year” is The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (my review)! I adored this book and was sorry to see the traditional media virtually ignore it in their Best Books of 2017 lists, so I couldn’t be more excited to see it top this list!

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

If you missed it, 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 (below) to help you find your go-to BOTM judge!

I’ve added in the most recent judge’s selections, so download the new version even if you grabbed it last month!

Book of the Month January 2018 Selections

The Woman in the WindowWoman in the Window by A.J. Finn by A.J. Finn (Release Date: January 2, 2018)
448 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.12 on 898 ratings
Selected By: Elizabeth Sile (Senior Editor – Books Coverage, Real Simple Magazine)

What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. […]

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. […]

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

My Thoughts:
The Woman in the Window is a massively hyped debut psychological thriller with a plot that sounds very similar to The Girl on the Train. The publisher is marketing it as great for readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French and as appealing to readers of genre thrillers and literary fiction. The movie is already in development and it’s been blurbed by big name suspense writers Stephen King (who I don’t trust after Final Girls), Gillian Flynn, Louise Penny, Ruth Ware, and Joe Hill. Library Journal (which almost made my Top 5 Go-To Bookish News Sources) also said it “lived up to the hype” and was a “mature first novel that stands out in a crowded genre.” Goodreads readers said it was good suspense once it got going, but that it had a slow start and some plot holes. Susie at Novel Visits (a blogger I trust) said it was a bit gimmicky and just “so-so.”

The Judge:
Elizabeth Siles is a new “Judge Emeritas,” so does not have a Book of the Month track record. 

Two Girls Down by Louisa LunaTwo Girls Down by Louisa Luna (Release Date: January 9, 2018)
320 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.1 on 202 ratings
Selected By: Nina Sankovitch (Bestselling Author)

When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. […]

With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.

My Thoughts:
Two Girls Down is a police procedural and it sounds like genre mystery to me. It’s been blurbed by Lee Child and Michael Koryta, two big name genre mystery authors. Goodreads readers said it was a suspenseful whodunnit, fast-paced, and unputdownable, but that the plot was convoluted and overly confusing. There were also a couple mentions of undefined trigger warnings. Update: Review from Novel Gossip.

The Judge:
Nina Sankovitch chooses mostly literary and historical fiction and has chosen a number of books I’d never heard of. This pick seems to be a departure for her.

Music Shop by Rachel JoyceThe Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (Release Date: January 2, 2018)
320 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.99 on 1,149 ratings
Selected By: Kim Hubbard (Books Editor for People Magazine)

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. […] But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. […] The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music–and love–in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction. 

My Thoughts:
Joyce is known for charming, contemporary fiction and the plot of this one sounds like The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry with music instead of books. Eva at Paperback Princess (a blogger I trust) really enjoyed it despite not expecting to and thought it was “kind of a perfect book to combat all the garbage in the world.” Goodreads readers said it was an unconventional love story, a feel-good book, nostalgic, and delightful, but a couple readers who loved her Harold Frye series said it was boring.

The Judge:
Kim Hubbard is my #1 Go-To Judge, so I trust her opinion. Kim’s picks have been eclectic in the past, but The Music Shop sounds more “feel-good” than her past fiction choices.

As Bright As Heaven by Susan MeissnerAs Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner (Release Date: February 6, 2018)
400 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.39 on 158 ratings
Selected By: Stacey Armand (“You Be the Judge” Contest Winner)

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters—Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa—a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. […] But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without—and what they are willing to do about it.

My Thoughts:
As Bright as Heaven is historical fiction set during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. Its Goodreads reviews are outstanding…I had to dig deep to find anything negative at all. Goodreads readers said the story is well researched and told from multiple perspectives; it’s heartfelt and gorgeously written. People seemed to like the characters and said readers might need tissues. The one negative comment I found was that it was a bit predictable.

The Judge:
Stacey Armand has picked a thriller and a Young Adult (YA) in the past, so this choice is a departure for her. I haven’t read any of her past choices.

Red Clocks by Lena ZumasRed Clocks by Leni Zumas (Release Date: January 16, 2018)
368 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.17 on 99 ratings
Selected By: Cristina Arreola (Bustle Books Editor)

Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

My Thoughts:
Along with Gather the Daughters, The Power, and Future Home of the Living God, Red Clocks is yet another The Handmaid’s Tale copycat (i.e. feminist dystopian). Susie at Novel Visits (a blogger I trust) DNF’d it around the halfway mark with the caveat that she wasn’t fully able to focus on it. As far as where it falls among The Handmaid’s Tale copycats, she said she was liking it better than Future Home of the Living God, but not as much as The Power or Gather the Daughters. Goodreads readers said it was important, tackled big issues, and had beautiful writing, but was slow, hard to get into, and lacked emotional pull. Some readers did say it was worth it in the end if you could make it through the slow beginning.

The Judge:
Cristina Arreola has selected thrillers in the past, so this is a departure for her. She’s not one of my Go-To Judges.

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

For the second month in a row, I’m going to skip.

Despite my #1 Go-To Judge (Kim Hubbard) making an appearance this month, the book she selected just does not sound like something that would appeal to me.

If I was a historical fiction fan, I’d choose As Bright As Heaven since the Goodreads reviews are so outstanding.

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

What book will you choose this month?

This Month’s Special Deals

In addition to the five January selections, Book of the Month Club is offering one extra this month (which Book of the Month Club members can add to their boxes for only $9.99 each):

NEW MEMBER DEAL: Anyone who purchases a new BOTM subscription will get 1 month free! Use code MYBOTM.

NEW 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.

Sign up for a Book of the Month membership (NEW pricing below)!

New members will sign up for a membership that renews monthly:

A book of your choice for $14.99 / month
Add extra books to your shipment for $9.99 each
Skip any month you want
Free shipping, always

Get Weekly Email Updates!

Book of the Month Club December 2017 Selections: What Book Should You Choose?

December 1, 2017 Book Recommendations 15

Book of the Month Club December 2017 Selections

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, but I’m also a paying customer.

 

Welcome to my monthly feature “Book of the Month Club 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 Club 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 Club Judges with free, downloadable template (below).

December is traditionally a desert for new book releases. So, it’s not surprising this month’s selections don’t contain a single December release. Instead, we have a mid-2017 release, two November releases, and three January 2018 releases. This month’s picks are also thriller heavy…so, page-turner lovers, this is your month! Sadly, none of my go-to judges made an appearance this month.

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

If you missed it, check out my fun new tool to help you pick the best Book of the Month Club selection for your taste: my Ultimate Guide to the Book of the Month Club Judges and free, downloadable template (below) to help you find your go-to BOTM judge!

I’ve updated the template since last month to make it even better and added in the most recent judge’s selections, so download the new version even if you grabbed it last month!

Book of the Month Club December 2017 Selections

Chalk Man by C.J. TudorThe Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (Release Date: January 9, 2018)
288 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.24 on 380 ratings
Selected By: Kristen Iversen (Author)

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

My Thoughts:
The Chalk Man is a British debut and was inspired by Tudor’s daughter’s sidewalk chalk (creepy!!). The publisher is calling The Chalk Man the “must-read thriller of 2018,” and said the twists “manage to be simultaneously totally shocking, as well as completely grounded in the clues laid along the way.” This criteria for plot twists is a must-have for me to love a psychological thriller and Goodreads readers are (mostly) backing up the publisher’s claims. They also said Tudor’s writing and character development are top notch, which are sometimes lacking in thrillers. There’s apparently some 80’s nostalgia and I’ve seen comparisons to a couple different Stephen King works (The Stand, It, and The Body, which became the movie Stand By Me). Chelsea at The Suspense is Thrilling Me loved it just a tad. I’ve gotta say, as skeptical as I normally am of psychological thrillers, this one piques my interest.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Release Date: May 9, 2017)
327 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.33 on 41,808 ratings
Selected By: Guest Judge Gabrielle Union (Actress and Author of her memoir, We’re Going to Need More Wine)

Meet Eleanor Oliphant. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully time-tabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

Then everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. […] it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

My Thoughts:
Lots of people love this book, including some bloggers I trust (Susie at Novel Visits and Tara at Running N Reading), but I just didn’t. It’s a feel-good, heart-warming story that’s neatly tied up at the end and this kind of book generally doesn’t appeal to me. I found it too cliche in a rom-com type of way. I loved that Eleanor is a quirky, endearing character who goes on hilarious, salty rants about things that annoy her in everyday life. And, I was very curious about the dark backstory with her Mom, but was disappointed the book didn’t delve into this further. Check out my full review. Though I didn’t love it, you might if you like feel-good stories with endearing characters and neat, tidy endings.

City of Brass by S.A. ChakrabortyThe City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (Release Date: November 14, 2017)
528 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.31 on 553 ratings
Selected By: Liberty Hardy (co-host of Book Riot‘s All the Books podcast)

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real.

My Thoughts:
The City of Brass is the first novel in a debut series that “combines the tropes of epic fantasy with a rich Middle Eastern setting, an exploration of the classical Islamic world, and elements of Arab, Persian, and South Asian history and folklore in a fast-paced novel that will cast its spell on both genre and general readers, as well as fans of YA fantasy.” Whew! That’s a lot to swallow…and none of it is in my wheelhouse. It apparently has fantasy, romance, paranormal – all elements that have me running for the hills. But, Goodreads readers seem to love it and so did Kirkus.

English Wife by Lauren WilligThe English Wife by Lauren Willig (Release Date: January 9, 2018)
384 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.11 on 130 ratings
Selected By: Dana Schwartz (Author and Correspondent at Entertainment Weekly)

From the New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous New York Gilded Age novel full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.

My Thoughts:
The English Wife is historical fiction, but the dark, twisted, “wealthy people behaving badly” kind. I haven’t been loving much historical fiction lately, but this kind could be an exception. Goodreads reviewers say it’s gothic, has a bit of romance, starts a bit slowly but soon turns unputdownable, has an intricate plot, and leaves some questions open at the end (a good or bad thing depending on what type of reader you are, but Goodreads reviewers viewed it as mostly bad). Pam Jenoff (author of The Orphan’s Tale) called it a “scintillating tale of betrayal, secrets and a marriage gone wrong.”

Wife Between Us by Greer HendricksThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (Release Date: January 9, 2018)
352 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.27 on 1,248 ratings
Selected By: Nina Sankovitch (Bestselling Author)

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

My Thoughts:
How about that blurb?! The Wife Between Us is yet another psychological thriller about marriage, which have become ubiquitous since the success of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. I’m always a little skeptical of them because the copycats rarely live up to the original. Goodreads reviewers said this one is certainly addictive and unputdownable, but that the ending could be over the top for some and that the twisty plot had been done before. Kirkus called it “easy to read” and “a good airport book,” while Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review. Nina Sankovitch is not a go-to judge for me, so I’m going to wait for more reports from readers I trust on this one.

What Book of the Month Club December 2017 selection(s) will I choose?

Honestly, I’m going to skip this month.

But, if I wasn’t, I’d choose The Chalk Man because of the 80’s nostalgia and reports of Tudor’s stellar character development. I might end up picking this up later if I hear good reports from readers I trust.

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

What book will you choose this month?

This Month’s Special Deals

In addition to the five December selections, Book of the Month Club is offering one extra this month (which Book of the Month Club members can add to their boxes for only $9.99 each):

NEW MEMBER DEAL: Anyone who purchases a 1-month BOTM subscription will get 1 month free! That’s two months for the price of one––two brand new hardcover books for only $14.99!

HOLIDAY OFFER: 

How to Join Book of the Month Club…

Book of the Month Club 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 Club, 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 Club’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 Club’s panel of judges (including a surprise guest judge). Book of the Month Club 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.

Sign up for a Book of the Month Club membership (NEW pricing below)!

New members will sign up for a membership that renews monthly:

A book of your choice for $14.99 / month
Add extra books to your shipment for $9.99 each
Skip any month you want
Free shipping, always

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Book of the Month Club November 2017 Selections: What Book Should You Choose?

November 1, 2017 Book Recommendations 16

Book of the Month Club November 2017 Selections

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, but I’m also a paying customer.


Welcome to my monthly feature “Book of the Month Club 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 Club 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 Club Judges with free, downloadable template (below).

Another month where I’m not super excited about the selections. We have two famous actors writing fiction, which always makes me nervous. Call me cynical, but I wonder about the behind-the-scenes arrangements to get those two books included in this month’s selections. Regardless, you’ll hopefully be able to find a selection that’s right for your taste…or skip this month if not.

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

If you missed it last month, check out my fun new tool to help you pick the best Book of the Month Club selection for your taste: my Ultimate Guide to the Book of the Month Club Judges and free, downloadable template (below) to help you find your go-to BOTM judge!

I’ve updated the template since last month to make it even better and added in the most recent judge’s selections, so download the new version even if you grabbed it last month!

…by using this easy template to find your personal, go-to Book of the Month Club judge!

Book of the Month Club November 2017 Selections

Bonfire by Krysten RitterBonfire by Krysten Ritter (Release Date: November 7, 2017)
288 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.89 on 381 ratings
Selected By: Liberty Hardy (co-host of Book Riot‘s All the Books podcast)

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

My Thoughts:
Bonfire is a mystery/thriller and has been blurbed by some big names in that genre (Ruth Ware, Blake Crouch, and Mary Kubica). Although, I imagine it’s not hard to get big names to blurb your book when you’re a famous actress. The story sounds like Erin Brockovich crossed with your standard fast-paced thriller. General themes I heard from regular readers on Goodreads are that the writing is great, the story is a total mindf*ck, and that the main character is dislikable (take note if this tends to bother you). Kirkus’s review was decently positive, though not starred. Publisher’s Weekly did give it a starred review. I probably won’t choose this one because of my dicey relationship with thrillers and, when it comes to BOTM thrillers, I’m more of a Judge Sarah Weinman girl than a Judge Liberty girl (see Ultimate Guide to the Book of the Month Club Judges for details).

Future Home of the Living God by Louise ErdrichFuture Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (Release Date: November 14, 2017)
288 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.9 on 97 ratings
Selected By: Guest Judge Tavi Gevinson (Editor in Chief of Rookie Magazine)

The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

My Thoughts:
Future Home of the Living God is feminist, dystopian fiction in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and, from what I understand, is somewhat of a departure from Erdrich’s previous work (which focused on her Native American heritage). Erdrich is usually a fairly political writer and this book sounds like it will continue that trend. Michelle at That’s What She Read (a blogger I trust) is currently reading it and said, “it’s definitely different, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it.” General themes from Goodreads reviews include that it’s grim, has gorgeous writing, has great characters, and poses interesting ideas, but some aren’t satisfied with the ending (lots of unanswered questions) and mentioned an unfinished quality to her world-building. I didn’t love Erdrich’s National Book Award Winner, The Round House (my review), so I wouldn’t choose this one for myself.

Rules of Magic by Alice HoffmanThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (Release Date: October 10, 2017)
369 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.25 on 1,952 ratings
Selected By: Guest Judge Mae Whitman (Actress – Amber on Parenthood)

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

My Thoughts:
The Rules of Magic is the prequel to Hoffman’s 1995 novel, Practical Magic (later made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman), but I hear it can absolutely stand on its own. I haven’t read any Alice Hoffman, but I know she’s beloved by many. I’m generally not big on magical realism and there is some in this book (although I hear it’s not heavy-handed), so I haven’t jumped on it yet. However, I hear it’s ultimately the story of a family, so I’m considering changing my mind. The Rules of Magic got great reviews from two of the bloggers I trust most (Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books and Susie at Novel Visits) and Goodreads readers (they’re raving about Hoffman’s storytelling, the book’s magical quality, the writing, and the straight-up great story about a family). Kirkus gave it a positive (though not starred) review while Publisher’s Weekly gave it the star, saying “the spellbinding story, focusing on the strength of family bonds through joy and sorrow, will appeal to a broad range of readers.”

Uncommon Type by Tom HanksUncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks (Release Date: October 17, 2017)
405 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.52 on 341 ratings
Selected By: Maris Kreizman (Book of the Month Club Editorial Director)

Seventeen short stories, each somehow involving a typewriter, which Tom Hanks collects.

My Thoughts:
The second fiction by an actor/ress in this month’s selections…hmm. I’m generally skeptical of actors writing fiction, because I figure it’s not hard for them to get a publishing contract (their names will sell books regardless of the book’s quality). But, I’m hearing people are pleasantly surprised by Hanks’s writing abilities. Goodreads readers said this collection was warm, engaging, had an everyman vibe, but was also unremarkable. Eva at Paperback Princess said Hanks was a good storyteller and managed to do a lot in a small space. Kathy at Bermuda Onion thought the collection was uneven (often a risk with short story collections), but could tell Hanks is a capable writer. Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly both gave it a positive (though not starred) reviews. I’ve had decent luck with Kreizman’s past picks (The Girls and Dark Matter), but she’s not one of my go-to BOTM judges

Artemis by Andy WeirArtemis by Andy Weir (Release Date: November 14, 2017)
384 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.88 on 1,057 ratings
Selected By: No judge was listed. This is odd.

[…] Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

My Thoughts:
Artemis is Weir’s sophomore novel following his smash hit debut, The Martian. It’s a fun, adventure story and I hear it’s pretty different from The Martian. However, I tried Artemis last week and only made it through 5% before giving up. The dialogue and jokey banter was not endearing like it was in The Martian; it was just flat out annoying. I don’t think I could stand reading a whole 384 pages of it. Goodreads readers commended Weir on his excellent world-building, but said there were too many corny jokes and Jazz was like a female version of Mark Watney (which readers generally weren’t happy about). Kirkus pretty much skewered Artemis, while Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review, saying “the independent, wisecracking lead could easily sustain a series.” There’s some consistency for ya…

What Book of the Month Club November 2017 selection(s) will I choose?

I wasn’t super high on this month’s selections, but I’m going to choose The Rules of Magic since the reviews are outstanding and I hear the magical realism isn’t too heavy-handed.

Make your Book of the Month Club selections by Monday, November 6th.

This Month’s Special Deals

In addition to the five November selections, Book of the Month Club is offering two extras this month (which Book of the Month Club members can add to their boxes for only $9.99 each):

  • The Martian (Andy Weir’s smash hit debut novel)
  • And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie’s classic mystery…some say the best mystery ever written)

NEW MEMBER DEAL: Anyone who purchases a 1-month BOTM subscription will get 1 month free! That’s two months for the price of one––two brand new hardcover books for only $14.99!

HOLIDAY OFFER: 
Buy a Book of the Month gift and get a free book for yourself. (NEW GIFT PRICING: 3 Months for $44.99, 6 months for $79.99, 12 months for $149.99)

FREEBIE DEAL: new members who use this code can get Bonfire, Artemis, or The Rules of Magic free when they join!

How to Join Book of the Month Club…

Book of the Month Club 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 Club, 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 Club’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 Club’s panel of judges (including a surprise guest judge). Book of the Month Club 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.

Sign up for a Book of the Month Club membership (NEW pricing below)!

New members will sign up for a membership that renews monthly:

A book of your choice for $14.99 / month
Add extra books to your shipment for $9.99 each
Skip any month you want
Free shipping, always


Get Weekly Email Updates!