Well its that time of the month again where we make our predictions and give our reasons for why we think we’re right. As always, remember that these are just guesses and we are human– so, you know we might be wrong but we feel good about these predictions and are reasons behind them.
Riddle #1: “A Place To Stay Up All Night”
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Published by Berkley on February 18, 2020
The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…
Why It Fits: This is a fairly easy one considering Simone St. James is a repeat author (recall The Broken Girls from February 2018). If the clue wasn’t straight forward enough (a place to stay = motel / night = sundown), Riley Sager blurbed it and he basically lives at Book of the Month so, yes, we are feeling very confident about this one.
Riddle #2: “Things Men Don’t Talk About“
Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey
Published by Knopf Publishing Group on January 7, 2020
For readers of Rachel Cusk, Lydia Davis, and Jenny Offill--a compact tour de force about sex, violence, and self-loathing from a ferociously talented new voice in fiction
Miranda Popkey's first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt--written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism. The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women--the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage--and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.
Why It Fits: Okay, this clue is a little more convoluted but all you have to do is read the synopsis and its clear that Topics of Conversation fits. This book follows three friends as they discusses issues of feminism (reminiscent of books like Three Women and Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo) Plus, it also spans multiple decades, which is a common characteristic of Book of the Month picks.
Riddle #3: “Peanut Butter, Jelly and Salsa”
Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
Published by Atria Books on February 4, 2020
In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.
Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.
Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.
Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.
Why It Fits: I laughed so hard when I saw this clue. Whoever came up with this one on the Book of the Month team: you the real MVP. Aside from the fact that clue consists of all condiments that come in jars- Things in Jars, get it?- This book features an amateur sleuth which is a quite trope for Book of the Month selections. Beyond that, Book of the Month seems to take their mysteries with a healthy serving of dark grittiness and harsh reality. Especially recently! Yes, I’m looking at you Long Bright River.
Riddle #4: “Welcome to the Circus“
Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau
Published by Endeavour Quill on January 16, 2020
The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.
The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.
But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.
Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.
Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.
Why It Fits: This is the one we are the most unsure of but its a historical fiction/mystery with a female lead, and we know Book of the Month loves both of those genres! It is set in New York City, and more specifically at Coney Island, which is the site of a well-known circus and amusement park. The cover has a circus tent on it as well, so that tips the scales for us. Other feasible options include American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (get it? circuses are an American phenomenon and they have dirt floor? Yeah, we don’t know either) or The Circus by Jonas Karlsson (but this one seems WAY too obvious in a month of tough clues).
Riddle #5: “In the Past We Sailed More“
When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on January 28, 2020
A heart-swelling debut for fans of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains.
For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:
1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.” 2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect. 3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home. 4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet. 5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.
But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.
When We Were Vikings is an uplifting debut about an unlikely heroine whose journey will leave you wanting to embark on a quest of your own, because after all...
We are all legends of our own making.
Why It Fits: Last but most certainly not least is the clue that made my linguist heart sing just a little bit. So the clue is pretty straight forward: In the past fits “Were”, quite nicely and Vikings sail, but what sold me on it was the fact that both titles use the second person plural “we”. Beyond the clue itself, Book of the Month has been picking books with neuro-diverse characters (The Reckless Oath We Made; Helen Hoang’s books, etc…) and if that isn’t convincing enough, Brynn Greenwood, a two-time Book of the Month selection author, offered a glowing blurb for it.
So What Do You Think?
Well, those are our guess. Let us know in the comments what you are thinking