Hello everyone and welcome to one of my most popular monthly posts: Book of the Month At A Glance. Its a post where I share my breakdown of Book of the Month’s monthly selections and add ons. I pour over countless reviews, read excerpts and explore the themes of each pick in order to help you better decide the right pick(s) for you. That way, you can spend less time researching and more time reading.
I am doing the main picks and add ons separately this month because there were eight add ons, I already had the main picks written up, and wanted to get these out in case anyone is waiting on it to choose their main picks. Look for the add ons post this weekend, before Nov. 1st!
As always, if there is anything I am leaving out of these posts, let me know and I will do my best to include it. Regardless, I hope my post gets you excited for this month’s selections and that you find something you know you’ll love!
A Little Hope by Ethan Joella (Contemporary Fiction)A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
Published by Scribner on November 16, 2021
A deeply moving, life-affirming novel about residents in a small Connecticut town facing everyday fears and desires—a lost love, a stalled career, a diagnosis—that pulls at the heartstrings and provides hope, for readers of Olive Kitteridge.
In the small city of Wharton, Connecticut, lives are beginning to unravel. A husband betrays his wife. A son struggles with addiction. A widow misses her late spouse. At the heart of these interlinking stories is one couple: Freddie and Greg Tyler.
Greg has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a brutal form of cancer. He intends to handle this the way he has faced everything else: through grit and determination. But can Greg successfully overcome his illness? How will Freddie and their daughter cope if he doesn’t? How do the other residents of Wharton learn to live with loss, and find happiness again?
An emotionally powerful debut that immerses the reader into a community of friends, family, and neighbors, A Little Hope celebrates the importance of small moments of connection and the ways that love and forgiveness can help us survive even the most difficult of life’s challenges.
A Little Hope by Ethan Joella is the inspirational pick many have been hoping for as we move into cold, darker months and the publishing trend leans into heavier literary fiction and chunky fantasy novels. Joella’s debut is a heartwarming novel about love, loss, and the little moments that make life worth living. Joella’s debut novel is set in the small, eastern town of Wharton, Connecticut and follows various members of the community who all have connections to a married couple: Freddie and Greg Tyler. A Little Hope is the epitome of the quiet, slice of life novel- following four characters and they move through life’s tragedies and triumphs. With comparisons to other character driven novels like Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keane and Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout, if you need plot to drive your reading, this may not be the book for you. But reviewers are raving about Joella’ aptitude to take everyday stories and lend them a certain poignancy and vitality that might ring hollow in lesser hands. The biggest complaint I can find is how the sheer number of characters was confusing and the sheer number of viewpoints made the story feel scattered. But the reviewers who voiced the opinion were sparse and I think A LIttle Hope will be the perfect winter read for the right reader. Slow and reflective, it promises to be inspiring and thought provoking read.
How to Mary Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by KM Jackson (Romance)How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K.M. Jackson
Published by Forever on November 2, 2021
USA Today bestselling author K.M. Jackson delivers a hilarious road-trip rom-com perfect for fans of Meet Cute and When Harry Met Sally. Bethany Lu Carlisle is devastated when the tabloids report actor Keanu Reeves is about to tie the knot. What?! How could the world's perfect boyfriend and forever bachelor, Keanu not realize that making a move like this could potentially be devastating to the equilibrium of...well...everything! Not to mention, he's never come face to face with the person who could potentially be his true soulmate—her. Desperate to convince Keanu to call off the wedding, Lu and her ride-or-die BFF Truman Erikson take a wild road trip to search for the elusive Keanu so that Lu can fulfill her dream of meeting her forever crush and confess her undying love. From New York to Los Angeles, Lu and True get into all sorts of sticky situations. Will Lu be able to find Keanu and convince him she's the one for him? Or maybe she'll discover true love has been by her side all along...
This road trip rom-com will transport readers to a world of celebrity obsession and laugh out loud one-liners. Our tenacious and competent protagonist is Bethany Lu Carlisle, who is determined to declare her love to Keanu Reeves when she learns, thanks to the tabloids, that wedding bells are imminent for this A-list actor. So naturally 40 year old Bethany sets out on a road trip to stop the wedding by proclaiming her love to Keanu. By her side is the love-struck Truman (True to his friends and to Lu) who has loved Bethany Lu since they were young. Told from alternating, first person perspectives, this friends to lovers romance follows the pair as they travel from New York to Los Angeles and find themselves in all kinds of hilarious situations. During the course of their travels, Lu just might realize that the love she has been dreaming about just might have been by her side all along. Featuring a protagonist in her forties, Reviewers have complained about Lu and True’s lack of depth as characters, but How To Mary Keanu Reeves in 90 Days is meant to be a light, fun, and superfluous read with quirky writing and a plot that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I think if readers can go into Jackson’s novel with this mindset, they are in for a fun, romantic adventure.
The Collective by Alison Gaylin (Thriller)The Collective by Alison Gaylin
Published by William Morrow on November 2, 2021
The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight plumbs the dark side of justice and the depths of diabolical revenge in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense that melds the driving narrative of Then She Was Gone with the breathtaking twists of The Chain and the violent fury of Kill Bill.
“Alison Gaylin’s The Collective is an astonishing feat. In the tradition of Ira Levin’s unforgettable social thrillers (Rosemary’s Baby, Stepford Wives), it’s a nerve-shredding, emotionally harrowing ride that also speaks volumes about our current moment, the dangers of our digital world, the potency of female rage. Don’t miss it.” —Megan Abbott
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.
Not normally one to go immediately for the thriller pick of the month, I am stoked for this title. 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 Aldermanwill definitely want to pick this one up. Reviewers seem to overwhelmingly adore this book for its exploration of grief and wild plot, but some found the book unbelievable and the characters superficial. I think if you are looking for solid thriller that will keep you on your toes, The Collective needs to go in your box.
The Family by Naomi Krupitsky (Historical Fiction)The Family by Naomi Krupitsky
on November 2, 2021
In the vein of an American Elena Ferrante, a captivating debut novel about the tangled fates of two best friends and daughters of the Italian mafia, and a coming-of-age story of twentieth-century Brooklyn.
Two daughters. Two families. One inescapable fate.
Sofia Colicchio is a free spirit, a loud, untamed thing. Antonia Russo is thoughtful, ever observing the world around her. Best friends from birth, their homes share a brick wall and their fathers are part of an unspoken community that connects them all: the Family. Sunday dinners gather the Family each week to feast, discuss business, and renew the intoxicating bond borne of blood and love.
Until Antonia’s father dares to dream of a different life and goes missing soon after. His disappearance drives a whisper-thin wedge between Sofia and Antonia as they become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflicted friendship. Both women are pushing against the walls of a prison made up of expectations, even as they remain bound to one another, their hearts expanding in tandem with Red Hook and Brooklyn around them. One fateful night their loyalty to each other and the Family will be tested. Only one of them can pull the trigger before it’s too late.
In the same vein of well known titles like City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, The Family follows two women whose friendship blossomed in childhood and has only grown as they have aged. But this is a mafia story, set against the backdrop of the 20th century and told from the points of view of the women of the family- individuals that have frequently been overlooked in traditional mafia stories like The Godfather and The Sopranos. Reminiscent of Elena Ferrante’s, My Brilliant Friend, at the center of the story are Sophia and Antonia, who could not be more different but could not love each other deeper. Krupitsky’s writing is like a good whiskey, velvety and exquisite and depth that only grows more profound the longer you sit with it. Metaphors and generic titles aside, The Family explores femininity and its power in a world dominated by men and their parameters. Each woman that is given a voice in The Family is alive and patriarchy-shattering in its vivaciousness and authenticity. Reviews are few but overwhelmingly glowing with a few complaints regarding the book’s pacing. But if you can settle in for a medium paced contemporary novel that plunges the depth and complexity of how the actions of parents color the lives of their children and what it means to be loyal to one’s family, no matter the cost; you’ll want to pick up The Family.
The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker (Young Adult Fantasy)The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night, #1) by Kylie Lee Baker
Published by Inkyard Press on October 12, 2021
Death is her destiny.
Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.
When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.
I have to admit that I looked at this title and it passed it by as a potential YA pick just because Book of the Month rarely chooses YA, but here we are with another first in a series. All I’m saying is that if you want your set to match, maybe get this title elsewhere? Qualms aside, The Keeper of Night sounds absolutely amazing. This book is DARK. Our anti-hero protagonist - which I adore - is Ren Scarboroughwho has wandered the London streets for centuries, collecting souls and actively avoiding the reapers above her who find their amusement in torturing her when given the opportunity. Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami she has never really felt like she belonged, Then, one fateful day, she is driven out of England and seeks shelter in Japan, immediately fleeing to the Underworld where she hopes to serve at Death’s side. The catch? She has to prove herself first, namely, by finding and destroying three Yokai demons. This historical novel explores themes of race, family, identity and belonging. But it’s a bloody and violent read that I cannot stress enough is not for the faint of heart.
The diversity breakdown this month is going to look weird since I’m separating the main picks and add ons but I think they did okay with authors of color and could always do better with their LGBTQIA+
- Authors of Color: 2/5 - 40%
- Female Authors: 4/5 - 80%
- LGBTQIA+: 0/5 - 0%
- Repeat Authors: 0/5 - 0%
- Debut Novels: 3/5 - 60%
In My Box This Month
I have been excited about the Collective since I received an ARC of it a few months ago. My interest in The Family was piqued while I was doing research for this post and I have never read a Colleen Hoover book, so here we are.
What About You?
What did you add to your box this month? What do you think of my picks? Let me know in the comments!