What’s In The Box!- November 2021 Predictions

Posted October 23, 2021 by stuckint in Book Subscriptions, BOTM / 6 Comments

Hey stackers. Let me just say how much I appreciate your patience with these posts.

I know publishing slows down in November but there are still plenty of releases to be excited about I cannot wait to see what Book of the Month chooses.

As always, if you love the content, please follow me! I’m so close to 1000 subscribers and once that happens I’ll be doing an awesome mystery box giveaway as well as a free three month sub to Book of the Month or the sub box of your choice. 

Contemporary Fiction

The Four Humors by Mina Sekin

The Four Humors by Mina Seckin
Published by Catapult on November 16, 2021
Pages: 368

This wry and visceral debut novel follows a young Turkish-American woman who, rather than grieving her father's untimely death, seeks treatment for a stubborn headache and grows obsessed with a centuries-old theory of medicine.

Twenty-year-old Sibel is fascinated by the human body. She's hoping to be a doctor and plans to spend her summer in Istanbul studying for the MCAT and visiting her father's grave. Instead, she finds herself self-diagnosing her own possible chronic illness with the four humors theory of ancient medicine. Is an imbalance of blood, bile, choler, and phlegm the cause of her physical and emotional turmoil?
Also on Sibel's mind: her blond American boyfriend who accompanies her to Turkey; her energetic but distraught younger sister; and her devoted grandmother, who, Sibel comes to learn, carries a harrowing secret.
Delving into her family's history, the narrative weaves through periods of political unrest in Turkey, from military coups to the Gezi Park protests. Told with pathos and humor, Sibel's search for strange and unusual cures is disrupted as she begins to see how she might heal herself through the care of others, including her own family and its long-fractured relationships.

With comparisons to previous Book of the Month picks like Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong and Chemistry by Weike Wang, this humorous contemporary novel is a rare combination of millennial narrative and intergenerational immigrant story. Our protagonist is twenty year old Sibil who starts the novel with big summer plans. Traveling to Istanbul, she intends to spend the months taking care of her grandmother, studying for the MCAT, and visiting her father’s grave. Instead she falls down a rabbit hole self diagnosing a potential chronic illness and passing her days in front of the TV watching Turkish soap operas. There is also the small matter of her blonde, American boyfriend who accompanied her on her trip, her energetic but depressed younger sister and doting grandmother. The novel explores numerous themes from ancient medicine, to healing family relationships, and the necessity of learning how to rely on and trust in those around us. Although this one isn’t blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors, it’s a contemporary novel, dealing with prescient issues by an author of color. It seems like a solid potential pick. 

Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

What’s In The Box!– November 2021 PredictionsDava Shastri's Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti
Published by Grand Central Publishing on November 30, 2021
Pages: 384

In this thought-provoking and entertaining debut novel about of a multicultural family, a dying billionaire matriarch leaks news of her death early so she can examine her legacy--a decision that horrifies her children and inadvertently exposes secrets she has spent a lifetime keeping.
Dava Shastri, one of the world's wealthiest women, has always lived with her sterling reputation in mind. A brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, however, changes everything, as she decides to take her death—like all matters of her life—into her own hands.
Summoning her four adult children to her private island, she discloses shocking news: in addition to having a terminal illness, she has arranged for the news of her death to break early, so she can read her obituaries.
As someone who dedicated her life to the arts and the empowerment of women, Dava expects to read articles lauding her philanthropic work. Instead, her "death" reveals two devastating secrets, truths she thought she had buried forever.
And now the whole world knows, including her children.
In the time she has left, Dava must come to terms with the decisions that have led to this moment—and make peace with those closest to her before it's too late. Compassionately written and chock-full of humor and heart, this powerful novel examines public versus private legacy, the complexities of love, and the never-ending joys—and frustrations—of family.

Similar to previous Book of the Month pick The Nest and with comparisons to Elin Hilderbrand, Dominicana by Angie Cruz, and Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok,  Dava Shastri’s Last Day follows the title’s namesake as she decides to publish news of her death before she actually dies with the intent of reading her obituaries and seeing how people react to the news. Expecting to be lauded for all her accomplishments and her efforts to make the world a better place, she is stunned when two very devastating and allegedly buried secrets are shared with the entire world. Written with a lot of humor and heart, the reader accompanies Dava as she must make peace with the decisions that she made and reconcile with those who matter most, before time runs out. Dava Shastri’s Last Day is a compassionate examination of the contrast between one’s private and public legacy, the complexities of love and the messiness of family. Unsurprisingly, the book is blurbed by Emma Straub who is the author of All Adults Here, a solid comp for a this powerful and thought provoking debut. 

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Published by St. Martin's Press on December 7, 2021
Pages: 304

Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.
Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she's been away...and some secrets can't stay buried forever.
Moving between the trio's adolescent years and the present day, The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won't see coming, with magnetic characters you won't soon forget.

Rumored that it will be a November book club pick, this contemporary novel features three friends who met and developed an intense relationship while they worked in the Paris Opera Ballet. An unknown event lead to their estrangement and, in the same vein as picks like In A Book Club Far Away, the reader uncovers the truth of the estrangement throughout the course of the novel. When Delphine is invited back to the Paris Opera House fifteen years later to choreograph a ballet, the three friends once again cross paths. Alternating between past and present the book is told from the trio’s perspective as this compelling story explores the complexities of female friendship, the precarious nature of seeking physical perfection in the name of art, and the suppressed female rage that so many women hold onto. While I would not describe The Ballerinas as a fast paced-twisty thriller, the mystery in this novel leads to a big reveal that might surprise you. It’s also blurbed by a handful of Book of the Month authors including Araminta Hall (Our Kind of Cruelty) Ella Berman (The Comeback), and Andrea Bartz (We Were Never Here). Regardless, its going to make a great conversation starter among individual readers and book clubs alike. 

Historical Fiction

A Net For Small Fishes by Lucy Jago

What’s In The Box!– November 2021 PredictionsA Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago
Published by Flatiron Books on November 9, 2021
Pages: 352

"A bravura historical debut . . . a gloriously immersive escape." —Guardian
Wolf Hall meets The Favourite in Lucy Jago's A Net For Small Fishes, a gripping dark novel based on the true scandal of two women determined to create their own fates in the Jacobean court.
With Frankie, I could have the life I had always wanted . . . and with me she could forge something more satisfying from her own . . .
When Frances Howard, beautiful but unhappy wife of the Earl of Essex, meets the talented Anne Turner, the two strike up an unlikely, yet powerful, friendship. Frances makes Anne her confidante, sweeping her into a glamorous and extravagant world, riven with bitter rivalry.
As the women grow closer, each hopes to change her circumstances. Frances is trapped in a miserable marriage while loving another, and newly-widowed Anne struggles to keep herself and her six children alive as she waits for a promised proposal. A desperate plan to change their fortunes is hatched. But navigating the Jacobean court is a dangerous game and one misstep could cost them everything.

This historical novel set in Jacobean England tells the true story of two women who strike up an obsessive friendship. One of the protagonists is Frances Howard, unhappily married  to the Earl of Essex. When she meets Anne Turner, she takes the young woman under her wing and the two strike up an all consuming relationship. Both women are buried under their harsh circumstances. Frances is trapped in a loveless marriage while her heart belongs to another and Anne, recently widowed, struggles to feed herself and her six children while hoping for a marriage proposal that may never come. The two women hatch a daring plan to change their circumstances, risking everything should it fail. Full of compelling characters, court intrigue, and the enduring bonds of friendship, A Net For Small Fishes just sounds like a Book of the Month pick and is even blurbed by previous Book of the Month author Alex George, who wrote The Paris Hours. I think if Book of the Month plans to include a historical fiction pick next month, they can’t go wrong with this one!

The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton
Published by Harper on November 30, 2021
Pages: 416

The New York Times bestselling author of The Last Train to London revisits the dark early days of the German occupation in France in this haunting novel—a love story and a tale of high-stakes danger and incomparable courage—about a young American heiress who helps artists hunted by the Nazis escape from war-torn Europe.
Wealthy, beautiful Naneé was born with a spirit of adventure. For her, learning to fly is freedom. When German tanks roll across the border and into Paris, this woman with an adorable dog and a generous heart joins the resistance. Known as the Postmistress because she delivers information to those in hiding, Naneé uses her charms and skill to house the hunted and deliver them to safety.
Photographer Edouard Moss has escaped Germany with his young daughter only to be interned in a French labor camp. His life collides with Nanée’s in this sweeping tale of romance and danger set in a world aflame with personal and political passion.
Inspired by the real life Chicago heiress Mary Jayne Gold, who worked with American journalist Varian Fry to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France, The Postmistress of Paris is the haunting story of an indomitable woman whose strength, bravery, and love is a beacon of hope in a time of terror.

This historical fiction WWII novel might feel like one in a dozen but a few things make it stand out as a potential Book of the Month pick for November. Our protagonist is Naneé, born in the Midwest but longing for adventure. Finding herself in Paris when German tanks roll across the border into France, she decides to join the resistance. Known as the Postmistress because she delivers information to those in hiding, Naneé hides those fleeing the German occupation and guides them to safety. Inspired by the real life Chicago heiress Mary Jayne Gold, who worked with American journalist Varian Fry to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France, The Postmistress of Paris is a  sweeping tale of romance and danger, filled with political intrigue and intense passion. Its a story of love, hope, heartbreak and resilience and is a perfect read for our difficult times. I have seen some people pining for something inspirational, I definitely think this one fits the bill. This title is also blurbed by Book of the Month favorite Kristen Hannah (The Nightingale, The Four Winds, The Great Alone) and Yangsze Choo (The Night Tiger). While Book of the Month hasn’t included a historical fiction pick every month, this would be a solid choice!

Literary Fiction

Carry the Dog by Stephanie Gangi

Carry the Dog by Stephanie Gangi
Published by Algonquin Books on November 2, 2021
Pages: 288

Bea Seger has spent a lifetime running from her childhood. The daughter of a famous photographer, she and her brothers were the subjects of an explosive series of images in the 1960s known as the Marx Nudes. Disturbing and provocative, the photographs left a family legacy of grief felt long past the public outcry and media attention.
Now, decades later, both the Museum of Modern Art and Hollywood have come calling, eager to cash in on the enduring interest in these infamous photos. Bea faces a choice: Let the world in—and be financially compensated for the trauma of her childhood—or leave it all locked away in a storage unit forever.
Twice divorced from but still dependent on aging rock star Gary Going, Bea lives in Manhattan with her borrowed dog, Dory, and her sort-of half-sister, Echo. Navigating old resentments and betrayals, Bea stumbles towards her best future, even as the past looms larger than ever before.
Carry the Dog reverberates with rock and roll, and truths about the human condition of a late-blooming feminist. To inhabit this story is to be swept into Bea’s world, to bear witness as the little girl in the photographs and the woman in the mirror meet at the blurry intersection of memory and truth, disappointment and gratitude, vulnerability and connection, and most of all, resilience.

Unconventional title aside, Carry the Dog follows Bea Seger who has spent a lifetime running from her childhood. In the 1960s, she and her brothers were the subjects of an explosive series of images known as the Marx Nudes. Disturbing and provocative, the photographs left a family legacy of grief felt long past the public outcry and media attention. Now, decades later, both the Museum of Modern Art and Hollywood have reached out, eager to cash in on the enduring interest in these infamous photos. Bea faces a choice: Let the world in—and be financially compensated for the trauma of her childhood—or leave it all locked away in a storage unit forever. In the vein of past Book of the Month picks like Girl A and The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, Carry the Dog is a literary novel with heft that examines how our childhood shapes the adults we become, the necessary work we must do to accept and grow from past traumas, and the complexities of art and its consequences. I would describe Carry the Dog as mostly literary with a touch of suspense- like When The Stars Go Dark- as Bea reconciles the girl she was with the woman she has become. Its blurbed by past Book of the Month author Mary Beth Keane (Ask Again Yes) and promises to spark some interesting conversations!

Chouette by Claire Oshetsky

Chouette by Claire Oshetsky
Published by Ecco on November 16, 2021
Pages: 256

An exhilarating, provocative novel of motherhood in extremis
Tiny is pregnant. Her husband is delighted. “You think this baby is going to be like you, but it’s not like you at all,” she warns him. “This baby is an owl-baby.”
When Chouette is born small and broken-winged, Tiny works around the clock to meet her daughter’s needs. Left on her own to care for a child who seems more predatory bird than baby, Tiny vows to raise Chouette to be her authentic self. Even in those times when Chouette’s behaviors grow violent and strange, Tiny’s loving commitment to her daughter is unwavering. When she discovers that her husband is on an obsessive and increasingly dangerous quest to find a “cure” for their daughter, Tiny must decide whether Chouette should be raised to fit in or to be herself—and learn what it truly means to be a mother.
Arresting, darkly funny, and unsettling, Chouette is a brilliant exploration of ambition, sacrifice, perceptions of ability, and the ferocity of motherly love.

Reminiscent of books like The Push and Little Darling, Chouchette is a strange novel that plunges the depth of motherhood. Tiny is pregnant. Her husband is delighted. When Chouette is born she is more like a tiny owl than a human baby and Tiny is determined to nurture and protect her. More weird fiction than anything else, the story takes a turn when Tiny realizes that her husband is obsessively trying to “cure” their daughter, even as Tiny has attempted to raise their daughter as her authentic self. As her husband’s attempts become more and more dangerous, Tiny must decide what is best for Chouette and in the process, learn what it means to be a mother. Unsettling, gripping and darkly comedic, Chouette explores the depths of motherly loves, what it means to sacrifice for our children, and the feelings of inadequacy that many parents wrestle with. Like The Push, and Little Darlings it examines the sparsely discussed aspects of parenthood and what happens when reality fails to meet expectations. Its an important novel and one that I think Book of the Month might pick, especially because its blurbed by Book of the Month author Ruman Alaam. Despite its weirdness, I would love to see it as a pick!

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

What’s In The Box!– November 2021 PredictionsThe Sentence by Louise Erdrich
Published by Harper on November 9, 2021
Pages: 416

In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage, and of a woman's relentless errors.
Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but she simply won't leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading with murderous attention, must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.
The Sentence begins on All Souls' Day 2019 and ends on All Souls' Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional, and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.

Louse Erdrich’s novel Future Home of the Living God was a pick October 2017 and while none of her books have been picked since, I think The Sentence has a fair chance. It’s a bit of an unconventional ghost story with a lot of layers so let’s see if I can distill it down and unpack it for you. The Sentence is  set in a small independent bookstore in Minneapoli. But it has a quirk, its haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Flora died on All Soul’s Day, but she simply won’t leave the store. The other primary character is Tookie, who spent her time in prison finding comfort in books and gets hired as a bookseller at the very same store. The Sentence begins on All Soul’s Day 2019 and ends on All Soul’s Day 2020. It’s a year filled with grief and loneliness as Tookie attempts to understand the haunting in the bookstore and wrestles with the ghosts of her past that still haunt her. Provocative and emotional, fans of Erdrich will adore her trademark beautiful prose and complex characters, while new readers will fall in love with her masterful work. Despite its lack of blurbs from previous Book of the Month authors, thematically and stylistically it feels at home among other Book of the Month picks. 

Mysteries & Thrillers

The Hidden by Melanie Golding

What’s In The Box!– November 2021 PredictionsThe Hidden by Melanie Golding
Published by Crooked Lane Books on November 9, 2021
Pages: 304

One dark December night, in a small seaside town, a little girl is found abandoned. When her mother finally arrives, authorities release the pair, believing it to be an innocent case of a toddler running off.
Gregor, a seemingly single man, is found bludgeoned and left for dead in his apartment, but the discovery of children’s toys raises more questions than answers.
Every night, Ruby gazes into Gregor’s apartment, leading to the discovery of his secret family: his unusually silent daughter and his mentally unstable wife, Constance, who insists that she is descended from the mythological Selkies. She begs Ruby to aid in finding the sealskin that Gregor has hidden from her, making it impossible to return to her people.
DS Joanna Harper’s investigation into Gregor’s assault leads her to CCTV footage of the mother-daughter pair from town. Harper realizes she knows the woman almost as well as she knows herself: it’s her estranged daughter, Ruby. No matter the depth of Ruby’s involvement, she knows she will choose her daughter over her career.

Melanie Golding’s debut novel was an add on some years ago when it came out and I don’t know about you, but I really enjoyed it. Based in folklore and focused on motherhood, The Hidden centers on Ruby, neighbor to Gregor and Constance. Ruby spends her days watching Gregor and his family. As she begins to develop a relationship with Constance, Ruby finds out that Constance believes she is a Selkie and that her husband Gregor has stolen and hidden her skin. As the situation becomes more precarious and the police get involved, Ruby finds herself unsure of what’s true and what’s all in Constance’s head. Combining myth and psychological suspense, The HIdden is another novel on this list that explores the depths of motherhood- I’m sensing a pattern- while weaving a modern folktale that is all too pertinent for our time. It’s not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors, Golding is a repeat author and that might just be enough to make it a pick or add on. 

The Collective by Alison Gaylin

The Collective by Alison Gaylin
Published by William Morrow on November 2, 2021
Pages: 352

Just how far will a grieving mother go to right a tragic wrong?
Camille Gardner is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible.
When her rash actions attract the attention of a secret group of women—the collective—Camille is drawn into a dark web where these mothers share their wildly different stories of loss as well as their desire for justice in a world where privilege denies accountability and perpetrators emerge unscathed. Fueled by mutual rage, these women orchestrate their own brand of justice through precise, anonymous, complexly plotted and perfectly executed revenge killings, with individual members completing a specific and integral task in each plan.
As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive.

This thriller has been on my radar for months and I am so excited that it is finally coming out. The Collective follows Camille, a grieving mother who still seeks justice for her daughter five years after her death from the white privileged boy who killed her. Her grief and rage attract the eyes of The Collective, a secret group of women who carry out their own forms of vigilante justice. Each member of the Collective helps carry out a step of the process. At first, it seems to be exactly what the grieving Camille is looking for. But as she gets pulled deeper into the organization and questions the morality of The Collective’s actions, things take a very dark turn. Gaylin’s latest novel, tackles issues of feminism, vengeance, justice and power. I think readers of Megan Abbott, Ruth Ware and Naomi Alderman (authors who were all previous Book of the Month selections) will definitely want to pick this one up. It’s also blurbed by previous Book of the Month author AJ Finn. Its dark, full of morally grey characters, and asks questions about what it means to seek justice, It’s a solid thriller and one that looks worth all the hype.  

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris

What’s In The Box!– November 2021 PredictionsAll Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris
Published by William Morrow on November 2, 2021
Pages: 384

In this fast-paced thriller, Wanda M. Morris crafts a twisty mystery about a black lawyer who gets in over her head after the sudden death of her boss. A debut perfect for fans of Attica Locke, Alyssa Cole, Harlan Coben, and Celeste Ng, with shades of How to Get Away with Murder and John Grisham’s The Firm.

Everyone has something to hide...

Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, great friends, and a “for fun” relationship with a rich, charming executive—her white boss, Michael.
But everything changes one cold January morning when Ellice goes to meet Michael… and finds him dead with a gunshot to his head.
And then she walks away like nothing has happened. Why? Ellice has been keeping a cache of dark secrets, including a small-town past and a kid brother who’s spent time on the other side of the law. She can’t be thrust into the spotlight—again.
But instead of grieving this tragedy, people are gossiping, the police are getting suspicious, and Ellice, the company’s lone black attorney, is promoted to replace Michael. While the opportunity is a dream-come-true, Ellice just can’t shake the feeling that something is off.
When she uncovers shady dealings inside the company, Ellice is trapped in an impossible ethical and moral dilemma. Suddenly, Ellice’s past and present lives collide as she launches into a pulse-pounding race to protect the brother she tried to save years ago and stop a conspiracy far more sinister than she could have ever imagined…

This mystery is pretty buzzy right now and for good reason. With comparisons to the likes of Attica Locke, Alyssa Cole and Celeste Ng, this debut is sure to please mystery and thriller lovers alike! All Her Little Secrets features Ellice Littlejohn, a ivy-educated, black lawyer with a well paying corporate attorney job in Atlanta. She also has a fling going with her rich- and white - boss Michael. That is, until she finds him dead, with a gunshot wound to his head. But here’s the thing, Ellice can’t get involved, or even report it really. She has secrets of her own and people she needs to protect. But when Ellice is offered Michael’s old job, the police become suspicious and Ellice begins to suspect something sinister simmering just below the surface of her law firm. Plunging the depths of morality and ethics both personal and professional, this stunning debut explores issues of race, class and the secrets that haunt us and shape our lives. I would almost describe it as The Other Black Girl as written by John Grisham. It so happens to be blurbed by Zakiya Delilah Harris and looks like a promising mystery for those looking for one. 


Never Fall For Your Fiancee by Virginia Heath

Never Fall for Your Fiancée (The Merriwell Sisters, #1) by Virginia Heath
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on November 9, 2021
Pages: 368

The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything.
The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh invents a fake fiancée to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay. But when Hugh learns his interfering mother is on a ship bound for England, he realizes his complicated, convoluted but convenient ruse is about to implode. Until he collides with a beautiful woman, who might just be the miracle he needs.
Minerva Merriwell has had to struggle to support herself and her two younger sisters ever since their feckless father abandoned them. Work as a woodcut engraver is few and far between, and the Merriwell sisters are nearly penniless. So, when Hugh asks Minerva to pose as his fiancée while his mother is visiting, she knows that while the scheme sounds ludicrous, the offer is too good to pass up.
Once Minerva and her sisters arrive at Hugh's estate, of course, nothing goes according to his meticulous plan. As hilarity and miscommunication ensue, while everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight, Hugh and Minerva’s fake engagement starts to turn into a real romance. But can they trust each other, when their relationship started with a lie?

Book of the Month has been trying to include a variety of romance in their picks and I would not be surprised if Book of the Month dove back into historical romance with Never Fall For Your Fiance. Especially with popular picks like Evie Dunmore and Harper St. George. In this Regency romance, Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham makes up a fiancé to appease his mother who is more than happy to play matchmaker. But when Hugh gets word that his mother is en route to England to see him and the woman who stole his heart, he realizes that his ruse is about to unravel. Enter Minerva Merriwell, penniless and nearly destitute with her two younger sisters.  Invited to stay at his estate on the condition that Minerva pretend to be his fiancé, during the course of his mother’s visit., Hugh is certain this will work. But, as one would expect, nothing goes according to plan and hilarity and miscommunications ensue while everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight. To make things even more complicated, Heath and Minerva start to develop feelings for each other. Blurbed by Evie Dunmore, this kick off to a brand new series promises plenty of laughs and sizzling romance. 

The Single’s Table by Sarah Desai

What’s In The Box!– November 2021 PredictionsThe Singles Table by Sara Desai
Published by Berkley on November 16, 2021
Pages: 336

Opposites attract in this romantic comedy about a free-spirited lawyer who is determined to find the perfect match for the grumpy bachelor at her friend’s wedding
After a devastating break-up, celebrity-obsessed lawyer Zara Patel is determined never to open her heart again. She puts her energy into building her career and helping her friends find romance through the wedding season. She's never faced a guest at the singles table she couldn’t match, until she crosses paths with the sinfully sexy Jay Donovan.
Former military security specialist Jay has no time for love. His life is about working hard, staying focused, and winning at all costs. When charismatic Zara crashes into his life, he's thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of chaos he wants to avoid. Worse, they're stuck together for the entire wedding season.
So they make a deal. She'll find his special someone if he introduces her to his celebrity clients. But when their arrangement brings them together in ways they never expected, they realize that the perfect match might just be their own.

It seems that romance is a genre where Book of the Month is apt to include repeat authors and consequently, I’m hopeful that Sarah Desai will be a repeat pick. Like so many heroines of romance before her Zara Patel is competent, intelligent, and done with romance. She spends her time at her friends’ weddings, playing matchmaker at the single’s table and she’s good at it. Then she meets Jay Dayal. Who also has no time for love. I’m sensing a pattern! Jay is former military (which gives me major Boyfriend Project vibes) and has no interest in the chaos and messiness of seeking out a partner. When Zara and Jaycross paths at the single’s table they make a deal. If she finds him his match, he’ll introduce her to his celebrity friends. There is plenty of chemistry, will-they won’t they, and competent people. Reminiscent of popular authors like Jasmine Guillory and Alyssa Cole, Sara Dasai offers another heartwarming contemporary romance that is sure to please!

Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

What’s In The Box!– November 2021 PredictionsJust Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens
on November 9, 2021
Pages: 400

From the New York Times bestselling author of This Time Next Year comes a heartwarming and hilarious tale that asks: What if you pick up the wrong suitcase in an airport, only to fall head over heels for its unseen owner?
Laura's business trip to the Channel Islands isn't exactly off to a great start. After unceremoniously dumping everything in her bag in front of the most attractive man she's ever seen in real life, she arrives at her hotel only to realize she's grabbed the wrong suitcase from the airport. Her only consolation? The irresistibly appealing contents of the case: a copy of her favorite book; piano music; and a rugged, heavy knit fisherman sweater only a Ryan Gosling lookalike could pull off. The owner of this suitcase is Laura's dream man--she's sure of it. Now, all she has to do is find him.
The mix-up seems written in the stars. After all, what are the odds that she'd find The One on the same remote island where her mom and dad had first fallen in love, especially as she sets out to write an article about their epic romance? Commissioning surly cab driver Ted to ferry her around seems like her best bet in both tracking down the mystery suitcase owner and retracing her parents' footsteps. And if beneath Ted's gruffness lies a wit that makes their cab rides strangely entertaining, so much the better. But as Laura's long-lost luggage soulmate proves difficult to find--and as she realizes that the love story she's held on a pedestal all her life might not have been that perfect--she'll have to rethink her whole outlook on love to discover what she really wants.

From the author of the much loved This Time Next Year, Just Haven’t Met You Yet is one for the dreamers among us. Laura is a hopeless romantic and lifestyle reporter on a business trip to the Channel Islands. After a very embarrassing encounter with a man at the airport that left her love struck and tongue tied, she arrives at her hotel to discover that she had grabbed the wrong suitcase. Firmly believing the owner of the suitcase’s contents is the man and love she’s always dreamed of, she sets out to find him, intending to chronicle her journey and their love story. On to the scene comes Ted, a grumpy taxi driver- who might just be a cinnamon roll (read sweet and big hearted). Together they not only try to discover and locate the owner of the suitcase, they also retrace the love story of Laura’s parents. But as the search unfolds, Laura might find love in the places she least expected. Just Haven’t Met You Yet- aside from being a fabulous song by Michael Buble- sounds like the perfect read to whisk you away from cold winter nights and snowy days. It is also blurbed by Josie Silver (author of One Day In December) and Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient series). It seems super cute and heartwarming and I for one, can’t wait to read it. 

Sci Fi & Fantasy

Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson

What’s In The Box!– November 2021 PredictionsTermination Shock by Neal Stephenson
Published by William Morrow on November 16, 2021
Pages: 896

A visionary technothriller about climate change.
Neal Stephenson’s sweeping, prescient new novel transports readers to a near-future world where the greenhouse effect has inexorably resulted in a whirling-dervish troposphere of superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, merciless heat waves, and virulent, deadly pandemics.
One man has a Big Idea for reversing global warming, a master plan perhaps best described as “elemental.” But will it work? And just as important, what are the consequences for the planet and all of humanity should it be applied?
Ranging from the Texas heartland to the Dutch royal palace in the Hague, from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sunbaked Chihuahuan Desert, Termination Shock brings together a disparate group of characters from different cultures and continents who grapple with the real-life repercussions of global warming. Ultimately, it asks the question: Might the cure be worse than the disease?

I am always here for a good genre pick and Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson is at the top of my November releases. Some might know him from previous works like Seveneves and Snow Crash, but with Termination Shock, Stephenson offers a visionary techno-thriller about climate change and the man-made forces that shape our present and future. Gripping and fast paced, the novel is epic in scope and explores the nuances of the modern world. Like previous Book of the Month pick, Project Hail Mary, Termination Shock is set in a world where the very existence of humanity is in peril. Greenhouse effects have plunged the world into a hellscape of superstorms, global flooding, nearly unsurvivable heat waves and deadly pandemics. At the heart of this kaleidoscope of disasters is one man and his idea to reverse course. Prescient and frightening in its believability, Termination Shock is the kind of science fiction that will have readers thinking and talking long after they have turned the last page. While it is not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors, it is an epic story, clocking it at over 700 pages, I have a feeling its going to be one of the big sci fi books of the year and maybe, just maybe, Book of the Month will want to get in on the action. 

Young Adult

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong

Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights, #2) by Chloe Gong
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on November 16, 2021
Pages: 494

Shanghai is under siege in this captivating and searingly romantic sequel to These Violent Delights, which New York Times bestselling author Natasha Ngan calls “deliciously dark.”
The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.
After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.
Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.
Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.

Book of the Month doesn’t choose YA books like they used to and so I’m only including one option in my round up of predictions this month. Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights was a main pick in November of 2020 and seemed to be mostly well liked. While Book of the Month does not have a great track record with including sequels to first in series that they’ve featured before, I think Gong’s duology has a wider appeal with its Shakespearian roots, historic setting, and character driven story the conclusion to the duology is sure to pack a punch. It picks up right where These Violent Delights left off and promises just as much forbidden love, mystery, and atmosphere. Set once again in 1920s Shanghai, where gang violence is the norm and loyalties frequently demand a blood price, Roma and Juliette once again face an entity that threatens their world and way of life. In light of previous choices, working together will be nearly impossible, albeit imperative if they are to save the ones they love and each other. It is not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors so I’m basing my prediction on the sole fact that These Violent Delights was a November pick last year and I’m sure some are crossing their fingers for a matching set. 

Honorable Mentions

A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli

What’s In The Box!– November 2021 PredictionsA Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli
Published by Berkley Books on October 5, 2021
Pages: 336

One type-A data analyst discovers her free-spirited side on an impulsive journey from bustling Mumbai to the gorgeous beaches of Goa and finds love waiting for her on Christmas morning.
Twenty-nine-year-old Niki Randhawa has always made practical decisions. Despite her love for music and art, she became an analyst for the stability. She's always stuck close to home, in case her family needed her. And she's always dated guys that seem good on paper, rather than the ones who give her butterflies. When she's laid off, Niki realizes that practical hasn't exactly paid off for her. So for the first time ever, she throws caution to the wind and books a last-minute flight for her friend Diya's wedding.
Niki arrives in India just in time to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, where she meets London musician Sameer Mukherji. Maybe it's the splendor of Mumbai or the magic of the holiday season, but Niki is immediately drawn to Sam. At the wedding, the champagne flows and their flirtatious banter makes it clear that the attraction is mutual.
When Niki and Sam join Diya, her husband and their friends on a group honeymoon, their connection grows deeper. Free-spirited Sam helps Niki get in touch with her passionate and creative side, and with her Indian roots. When she gets a new job offer back home, Niki must decide what she wants out of the next chapter of her life--to cling to the straight and narrow like always, or to take a leap of faith and live the kind of bold life the old Niki never would have dreamed of.

I would still love to see this as a pick, but since it wasn’t offered as pick last month I’m less confidant that it will be a choice. However, its an adorable, ownvoices story and it just sounds super cute.

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer
Published by Mira on September 28, 2021
Pages: 416

Oy! to the world
Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.
But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.
Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

In a world saturated by Christmas romances that readers can get their hands on as early as July, a romance set around Hannakuh seems like the sort of the world needs. But it did come out in September and I feel like if Book of the Month was going to choose it, they would have done so already. I’d be happy to be wrong, but that’s my hot take.

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant
Published by Minotaur Books on October 26, 2021
Pages: 288

No electricity, no family, no connection to the outside world. For eight years, Cooper and his young daughter, Finch, have lived in isolation in a remote cabin in the northern Appalachian woods. And that's exactly the way Cooper wants it, because he's got a lot to hide. Finch has been raised on the books filling the cabin’s shelves and the beautiful but brutal code of life in the wilderness. But she’s starting to push back against the sheltered life Cooper has created for her—and he’s still haunted by the painful truth of what it took to get them there.
The only people who know they exist are a mysterious local hermit named Scotland, and Cooper's old friend, Jake, who visits each winter to bring them food and supplies. But this year, Jake doesn't show up, setting off an irreversible chain of events that reveals just how precarious their situation really is. Suddenly, the boundaries of their safe haven have blurred—and when a stranger wanders into their woods, Finch’s growing obsession with her could put them all in danger. After a shocking disappearance threatens to upend the only life Finch has ever known, Cooper is forced to decide whether to keep hiding—or finally face the sins of his past.
Vividly atmospheric and masterfully tense, These Silent Woods is a poignant story of survival, sacrifice, and how far a father will go when faced with losing it all.

I would love to see this as a pick, but with its new mid-November release date, lack of blurb by previous Book of the Month authors, and the fact that its more of a gritty coming of age story rather than a thriller, I’m skeptical that Book of the Month will choose it for November. But we shall see!

What About You?

What books are you hoping to see as picks for the month of October? What do you think of my list? Let me know in the comments!

6 responses to “What’s In The Box!- November 2021 Predictions

  1. Alyssa Olonde

    So many great potential picks! I really enjoy these posts. Thanks for all the effort you put into these BOTM predictions!

  2. Ann

    Wow, I hope you are right on some of these, because there is such a nice variety! I am so uninterested in these silly romances that others seem to love.

    And I have decided once and for all that YA is definitely not for me.

    The Four Humors sounds interesting as do some of the historical fiction titles.

    Personally looking forward to Ann Patchett and Diana Gabaldon’s new books; though I doubt they would be BOTM selections.

    I need to read some Louise Erdrich!

    And is it me or was These Silent Woods predicted for last month. Was there a delay in publishing?

    I just love these lists!!!!!!! Thanks so much for putting them out there!

  3. Ann

    Oops and you did accidently say “for the month of October” at the end. Maybe that was how These Silent Woods popped back up.

    Love the Chouette cover ❤️

  4. claire talbot

    I am interested in The Ballerinas, the Hidden and Termination Shock. Can’t wait to see what the November picks are!

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