What’s In The Box! – March 2022 Predictions

Posted February 21, 2022 by stuckint in Book of the Month, Book Subscriptions, BOTM, Predictions / 4 Comments

Hey everyone and welcome back to one of the most popular posts here on Stuck in the Stacks – our Book of the Month predictions post. It feels like Book of the Month has been kind of going rogue with their picks lately, pulling from rather obscure titles, but we are hoping that at least some our guesses will be picks or add ons.

Keep in mind that these are simply guesses and I could get most or all of them wrong. Be that as it may, I hope my guesses get you excited for March and bring some under the radar titles to your attention.

Contemporary Fiction

The Wonders by Elena Medel

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Wonders by Elena Medel
Published by Algonquin Books on March 1, 2022
Pages: 240
Goodreads

“A mesmerizing read . . . I was completely engrossed in this story, in the shadow each generation casts on the one that comes after it, in the tension between caring for oneself and caring for others.” —Avni Doshi, author of the Booker Prize finalist Burnt Sugar
Through the vivid interior worlds of two unforgettable characters, Elena Medel brings a half century of the feminist movement to life, revealing how little has really changed for women who work the night shift. 
Winner of the prestigious Francisco Umbral Prize for Book of the Year and already a sensation in Spain, The Wonders follows María and Alicia through the streets of Madrid, from job to job and apartment to apartment, as they search for meaning and stability, unknowingly tracing each other’s footfalls across time. 
María moved to the city in 1969, leaving her daughter with her family but hoping to save enough to take care of her one day. She worked as a housekeeper, a caregiver, a cleaner—somehow always taking care of someone else. Two generations later, during the Women’s March in 2018, Alicia was working at the snack shop in the Atocha train station when it overflowed with protesters and strikers. Women, so many women, were flooding the streets with their signs and chants. She couldn’t have known María was among them; she was on the clock. And later, she’d be looking for someone else, a man to take her away for a few hours, to make her forget. Anyone but her husband, with his pleas to go on bike rides together, to have children, to act like the other thirtysomething couples they knew. 
Medel’s lyrical sensibility reveals her roots as a poet, but her fast-paced and expansive storytelling show she’s a novelist ahead of her time. With grit, texture, and mesmerizing prose, The Wonders launches an inimitable new voice in fiction.

A translated work as well as a debut novel for Medel, The Wonders has Book of the Month written all over it. It follows Maria and Alicia through the streets of Madrid, from job to job and apartment to apartment, as they search for meaning and stability in a precarious world and unknowingly trace each other’s footfalls across time. Separated by almost sixty years, the two women experience the same city on the brink of revolution. Both of them have different reactions to the turmoil and the reader will be swept away by Mendel’s vivid writing, rich setting and dynamic characters. While its not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors its a multigenerational story highlighting a lesser known period in history, seamlessly weaving contemporary and historical fiction. I would love to see Book of the Month include more translated works, I’ll be curious to see if they add this one to their repertoire.. 

The Love Of My Life by Rosie Walsh (Repeat Author)

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on March 1, 2022
Pages: 384
Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Ghosted comes another love story wrapped in an up-all-night page-turner with a secret at its core
Emma was quite certain she'd never fall in love again. But then she met an obituary writer, Leo, and within months, they were engaged. Seven years later came Ruby, their daughter, and then John Keats, their rescue dog. Now Emma, a marine biologist, has her perfect little ecosystem. They are happy, crammed into the tiny house her grandmother left her. Leo was adopted as a baby, and this noisy, joyous little family is the first place he has ever felt he belongs. In fact, everything would be just perfect if Emma was who she said she was. If Emma was even her real name . . . Because of Emma's preeminence in her field, Leo is asked to write his own wife's obituary while she is still alive. That's when he finds that the woman he thinks he knows doesn't really exist. As Leo starts to unravel the truth about the stranger in his bed, Emma's old life breaks out of the carefully cultivated shell she created, threatening to wash away everything she has worked so hard to build. When the very darkest moments of Emma's past finally emerge, she must somehow prove to Leo that she really is the woman he always thought she was. But first, she must tell him about the love of her other life.

Rosie Walsh’s novel Ghosted was met with mixed reviews by Book of the Month members when it was selected as pick back in July 2018. However, with comparisons to previous Book of the Month picks like In Five Years and Nine Perfect Strangers, The Love Of My Life has a solid chance of being a March pick. At the center of the story is Emma. Emma loves her husband Leo and their young daughter Ruby: she’d do anything for them. But almost everything she’s told them about herself is a lie. And she might just have got away with it, if it weren’t for her husband’s job. Leo is an obituary writer, who copes with his wife’s chronic illness by researching about wife’s life. When he uncovers the truth it is up to Emma to prove to her family that she is the woman she claims to be. Not only is Walsh a repeat author but the book is blurbed by a sleuth of previous Book of the Month authors including: Greer Hendricks, Ashley Audrain, and Laura Dave. The Love Of My Life is a compellingly emotional novel with a perfect blend of romance and mystery that will keep readers turning pages.  

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Bonwo

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsWhen We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
Published by Doubleday Books on March 15, 2022
Pages: 304
Goodreads

A mythic love story set in Trinidad and Tobago, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo's radiant debut introduces two unforgettable outsiders brought together by their connection with the dead.
You were never the smartest child, but even you should know that when a dead woman offers you a cigarette, the polite thing to do would be to take it. Especially when that dead woman is your mother.
The St. Bernard women have lived in Morne Marie, the house on top of a hill outside Port Angeles, for generations. Built from the ashes of a plantation that enslaved their ancestors, it has come to shelter a lineage that is bonded by much more than blood. One woman in each generation of St. Bernards is responsible for the passage of the city's souls into the afterlife. But Yejide's relationship with her mother, Petronella, has always been contorted by anger and neglect, which Petronella stubbornly carries to her death bed, leaving Yejide unprepared to fulfill her destiny.
Raised in the countryside by a devout Rastafarian mother, Darwin has always abided by the religious commandment not to interact with death. He has never been to a funeral, much less seen a dead body. But when his ailing mother can no longer work and the only job he can find is grave digging, he must betray the life she built for him in order to provide for them both. Newly shorn of his dreadlocks and his past and determined to prove himself, Darwin finds himself adrift in a city electric with possibility and danger.
Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, Port Angeles's largest and oldest cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both. A masterwork of lush imagination and immersive lyricism, When We Were Birds is a spellbinding novel about inheritance, loss, and love's seismic power to heal.

This one kind of feels like a shoe in for Book of the Month in a lot of ways. It’s getting compared to past selections such as Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward, The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno Garcia. Set in Trinidad, this magic laced contemporary follows two characters connected by the roles they play with the dead. In the old house on a hill, where the city meets the rainforest, Yejide’s mother is dying. She is leaving behind a legacy that now passes to Yejide: one St Bernard woman in every generation has the power to shepherd the city’s souls into the afterlife. But after years of suffering her mother’s neglect and bitterness, Yejide is looking for a way out. Raised in the countryside by a devout Rastafarian mother, Darwin has always abided by the religious commandment not to interact with death. He has never been to a funeral, much less seen a dead body. But when the only job he can find is grave digging, he must betray the life his mother built for him in order to provide for them both. Newly shorn of his dreadlocks and his past, and determined to prove himself, Darwin finds himself adrift in a city electric with possibility and danger. Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, an ancient and sprawling cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both. A masterwork of lush imagination and exuberant storytelling, When We Were Birds is a spellbinding and hopeful novel about inheritance, loss, and love’s seismic power to heal. It is also blurbed by precious Book of the Month authors: Robert Jones Jr. (The Prophets), Pat Barker (The Silence of the Girls), and Claire Adam (The Golden Child). This sweet love story by an upcoming debut author, is sure to be a favorite of 2022. 

Fencing With the King by by Diana Abu-Jaber

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsFencing with the King by Diana Abu-Jaber
Published by W. W. Norton Company on March 15, 2022
Pages: 320
Goodreads

A mesmerizing breakthrough novel of family myths and inheritances by the award-winning author of Crescent.
Amani is hooked on a mystery―a poem on airmail paper that slips out of one of her father’s books. It seems to have been written by her grandmother, a refugee who arrived in Jordan during the First World War. Soon the perfect occasion to investigate arises: her Uncle Hafez, an advisor to the King of Jordan, invites her father to celebrate the king’s sixtieth birthday―and to fence with the king, as in their youth. Her father has avoided returning to his homeland for decades, but Amani persuades him to come with her. Uncle Hafez will make their time in Jordan complicated―and dangerous―after Amani discovers a missing relative and is launched into a journey of loss, history, and, eventually, a fight for her own life.
Fencing with the King masterfully draws on King Lear and Arthurian fable to explore the power of inheritance, the trauma of displacement, and whether we can release the past to build a future.

Fencing With the King is getting comparisons to A Woman Is No Man, which is one of my favorite Book of the Month picks ever. Subsequently, it is also blurbed by Etaf Rum who calls it “ambitious, vivid and compelling.” Our protagonist Amani is hooked on a mystery—a poem on airmail paper that slips out of one of her father’s books. It seems to have been written by her grandmother, a refugee who arrived in Jordan during the First World War. Soon the perfect occasion to investigate arises: her Uncle Hafez, an advisor to the King of Jordan, invites her father to celebrate the king’s sixtieth birthday—and to fence with the king, as in their youth. Fencing with the King masterfully draws on King Lear and Arthurian fable to explore the power of inheritance, the trauma of displacement, and whether we can release the past to build a future. I’m not certain it will be a Book of the Month pick, but as someone who loved titles like A Woman Is No Man and Girl With the Louding Voice, I can’t wait to read it. 

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Sarles (Repeat Author)

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsOne Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Published by Atria Books on March 1, 2022
Pages: 272
Goodreads

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.
And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

Who really knows if Sarles’ latest novel will actually be a pick or not. Its really hard to tell how Book of the Month chooses their repeat authors but One Italian Summer is on my radar, and in my preorder queue, regardless. When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: to Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone. Then, while she is adventuring along the Amalfi coast her mother appears, thirty years old and sun tanned. Across a single summer Katy gets to know her mother in a way she had never had before.  While it’s not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors, it is being compared to past picks like Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner and Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano. It also gives me serious Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany vibes. I can’t wait to see if Book of the Month actually picks it!

Historical Fiction

Things Past Telling by Sheila Williams

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThings Past Telling by Sheila Williams
Published by Amistad Press on March 15, 2022
Pages: 352
Goodreads

The author of The Secret Woman tells the story of a brave and enduring woman as indomitable as Ernest Gaines' legendary Miss Jane Pittman, in a breathtaking novel that combines the epic romance and adventure of Outlander, the sweeping drama of Roots, and the haunting historical power of Barracoon.
Things Past Telling is a remarkable historical epic that charts one unforgettable woman's journey across an ocean of years as vast as the Atlantic that will forever separate her from her homeland.
Born in West Africa in the mid-eighteenth century, Maryam Prescilla Grace--a.k.a "Momma Grace" will live a long, wondrous life marked by hardship, oppression, opportunity, and love. Though she will be "gifted" various names, her birth name is known to her alone. Over the course of 100-plus years, she survives capture, enslavement by several property owners, the Atlantic crossing when she is only eleven years of age, and a brief stint as a pirate's ward, acting as both a spy and a translator.
Maryam learns midwifery from a Caribbean-born wise woman, whose "craft" combines curated techniques and medicines from African, Indigenous, and European women. Those midwifery skills allow her to sometimes transcend the racial and class barriers of her enslavement, as she walks the razor's edge trying to balance the lives and health of her own people with the cruel economic mandates of the slave holders, who view infants born in bondage not as flesh-and-blood children but as investment property.
Throughout her triumphant and tumultuous life Maryam gains and loses her homeland, her family, her culture, her husband, her lovers, and her children. Yet as the decades pass, this tenacious woman never loses her sense of self.
Inspired by a 112-year-old woman the author discovered in an 1870 U.S. Federal census report for Ohio, loosely based on the author's real-life female ancestors, spanning more than a hundred years, from the mid-eighteen-century to the end of America's Civil War, and spanning across the globe, from what is now southern Nigeria to the islands of the Caribbean to North America and the land bordering the Ohio River, Things Past Telling is a breathtaking story of a past that lives on in all of us, and a life that encompasses the best--and worst--of our humanity.

This historical epic has the feel of a Kristen Hannah novel with it’s sweeping scope and continent spanning story. Things Past Telling begins in 18th century West Africa where Maryam Prescilla Grace begins her life marked by capture, enslavement by several property owners, the Atlantic crossing when she is only eleven years of age, and a brief stint as a pirate’s ward, acting as both a spy and a translator. Maryam learns midwifery from a Caribbean-born wise woman. Those midwifery skills allow her to sometimes transcend the racial and class barriers of her enslavement. Throughout her triumphant and tumultuous life Maryam gains and loses her homeland, her family, her culture, her husband, her lovers, and her children. Yet as the decades pass, this tenacious woman never loses her sense of self. Inspired by a 112-year-old woman the author discovered in an 1870 U.S. Federal census report for Ohio and loosely based on the author’s real-life female ancestors, Things Past Telling is a breathtaking story. While it is not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month author it just feels like the kind of historical fiction Book of the Month loves to choose. The sort you can sink your teeth into and that will transport you to another time and place. It also sounds similar to stories like The Girl With the Louding Voice, which was a very popular Book of the Month pick in its time. 

A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyne Grande

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsA Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande
Published by Atria Books on March 15, 2022
Pages: 384
Goodreads


A Long Petal of the Sea
meets Cold Mountain in this sweeping historical saga following a Mexican army nurse and an Irish soldier who must fight, at first for their survival and then for their love, amidst the atrocity of the Mexican-American War—from the author of the “timely and riveting” (People) Across a Hundred Mountains and The Distance Between Us.
A forgotten war. An unforgettable romance.
The year is 1846. After the controversial annexation of Texas, the US Army marches south to provoke war with México over the disputed Río Grande boundary.​
Ximena Salomé is a gifted Mexican healer who dreams of building a family with the man she loves on the coveted land she calls home. But when Texas Rangers storm her ranch and shoot her husband dead, her dreams are burned to ashes. Vowing to honor her husband’s memory and defend her country, Ximena uses her healing skills as an army nurse on the frontlines of the ravaging war.
Meanwhile, John Riley, an Irish immigrant in the Yankee army desperate to help his family escape the famine devastating his homeland, is sickened by the unjust war and the unspeakable atrocities against his countrymen by nativist officers. In a bold act of defiance, he swims across the Río Grande and joins the Mexican Army—a desertion punishable by execution. He forms the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a band of Irish soldiers willing to fight to the death for México’s freedom.
When Ximena and John meet, a dangerous attraction blooms between them. As the war intensifies, so does their passion. Swept up by forces with the power to change history, they fight not only for the fate of a nation but for their future together.
Heartbreaking and lyrical, Reyna Grande’s spellbinding saga, inspired by true events and historical figures, brings these two unforgettable characters to life and illuminates a largely forgotten moment in history that impacts the US-México border to this day.
Will Ximena and John survive the chaos of this bitter war, or will their love be devoured along with the land they strive to defend?

Similar in many ways to Things Past Telling, A Ballad of Love and Glory is comparable in scope and depth except in set in 1846 after the controversial annexation of Texas and the US Army marches south to provoke war with México over the disputed Río Grande boundary.​ Our main character is Ximena who makes her home with her husband on a ranch along the border. When Texas rangers arrive and kill her husband, her dreams of a life together are shattered. In an attempt to move on, Ximena uses her skills as a nurse on the war’s frontlines. Enter John Riley, an Irish immigrant who aches to relieve his homeland of the devastating famine it is currently enduring. Sickened by the US’ response to the border dispute her deserts and joins the Mexican Army—a decision punishable by execution. He forms the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a band of Irish soldiers willing to fight to the death for México’s freedom. When Ximena and John meet, a dangerous attraction blooms between them. Heartbreaking and lyrical, Reyna Grande’s spellbinding saga, inspired by true events and historical figures, brings these two unforgettable characters to life and illuminates a largely forgotten moment in history that impacts the US-México border to this day.

The Wolf’s Den by Elodie Harper

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
Published by Union Square Co. on March 29, 2022
Pages: 488
Goodreads

Sold by her impoverished mother. Enslaved in an infamous brothel in Pompeii. Determined to fight for her freedom at all costs. . . . Enter into the Wolf Den.
Amara was once the beloved daughter of a doctor in Greece, until her father’s sudden death plunged her mother into destitution. Now Amara is a slave and prostitute in Pompeii’s notorious Wolf Den brothel or lupanar, owned by a cruel and ruthless man. Intelligent and resourceful, she is forced to hide her true self. But her spirit is far from broken. Buoyed by the sisterhood she forges with the brothel’s other women, Amarafindssolace in the laughterand hopes they all share. For the streets of the city are alive with opportunity—here, even the lowest-born slave can dream of a new beginning. But everything in Pompeii has a price. How much will Amara’s freedom cost her? The Wolf Den is the first in a trilogy of novels about the lives of women in ancient Pompeii.

When I was in my undergrad program I had the privilege of doing on site research at Pompeii. Its a fascinating place and so, unsurprisingly, I love any and all attempts to recreate what might have happened in the ancient Roman city all those centuries ago. This particular iteration tells the story of Amara,  Sold by her impoverished mother. Enslaved in an infamous brothel in Pompeii. Determined to fight for her freedom at all costs. . . . Enter into the Wolf Den. Amara was once the beloved daughter of a doctor in Greece, until her father’s sudden death plunged her mother into destitution. Now Amara is a slave and prostitute in Pompeii’s notorious Wolf Den brothel or lupanar. But her spirit is far from broken. Buoyed by the sisterhood she forges with the brothel’s other women, While its not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors, this one is rounding out my historical fiction guesses because Book of the Month has been including more Greek and Roman stories like that of Ariadne and The Silence of the Girls. I am interested to see if Book of the Month will pick Harper’s start to a historical fiction trilogy. 

Tobacco Wives by Adele Meyers

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers
Published by William Morrow & Company on March 1, 2022
Pages: 352
Goodreads

For the audience of Fiona Davis and Lisa Wingate, a vibrant historical debut set in 1946 North Carolina following a young female seamstress who uncovers dangerous truths about the Big Tobacco empire ruling the American South.
“Myers brilliantly seduces us with her setting—a North Carolina town of beautiful socialites, opulent dresses, and elegant soirees—before revealing a terrible secret that threatens the entire community. This is a story of courage, of women willing to take a stand in the face of corporate greed, and most definitely a tale for our times.” —Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
Maddie Sykes is a burgeoning seamstress who’s just arrived in Bright Leaf, North Carolina—the tobacco capital of the South—where her aunt has a thriving sewing business. After years of war rations and shortages, Bright Leaf is a prosperous wonderland in full technicolor bloom, and Maddie is dazzled by the bustle of the crisply uniformed female factory workers, the palatial homes, and, most of all, her aunt’s glossiest clientele: the wives of the powerful tobacco executives.
When a series of unexpected events thrusts Maddie into the role of lead dressmaker for the town’s most influential women, she scrambles to produce their ornate gowns for the biggest party of the season. But she soon learns that Bright Leaf isn’t quite the carefree paradise that it seems: A trail of misfortune follows many of the women, including substantial health problems. Although Maddie is quick to believe that this is a coincidence, she inadvertently uncovers evidence that suggests otherwise.
Maddie wants to report what she knows, but in a town where everyone depends on Big Tobacco to survive, she doesn’t know who she can trust—and fears that exposing the truth may destroy the lives of the proud, strong women with whom she has forged strong bonds.
Shedding light on the hidden history of women’s activism during the post-war period, at its heart, The Tobacco Wives is a deeply human, emotionally satisfying, and dramatic novel about the power of female connection and the importance of seeking truth.

Book of the Month loves books about wives, so it feels only natural that Tobacco Wives make our list. Jokes aside, this historical novel follows a young woman who uncovers precarious truths about the booming tobacco industry in 1947 North Carolina. Maddie Sykes is a burgeoning seamstress who’s just arrived in Bright Leaf, North Carolina—the tobacco capital of the South—where her aunt has a thriving sewing business.  Maddie is dazzled by the bustle of the crisply uniformed female factory workers, the palatial homes, and, most of all, her aunt’s glossiest clientele: the wives of the powerful tobacco executives. When a series of unexpected events thrusts Maddie into the role of lead dressmaker for the town’s most influential women, she scrambles to produce their ornate gowns for the biggest party of the season. But she soon learns that Bright Leaf isn’t quite the carefree paradise that it seems: A trail of misfortune follows many of the women, including substantial health problems. Maddie wants to report what she knows but worries how it will be received by a town that depends on the tobacco industry for survival. Shedding light on the hidden history of women’s activism during the post-war period, at its heart, The Tobacco Wives is a deeply human, emotionally satisfying, and dramatic novel about the power of female connection and the importance of seeking truth. Its blurbed by Magnolia Palace author Fiona Davis and promises plenty of fodder for book clubs and buddy readers. I think it sounds similar to previous picks like The Book of Essie and The Hunting Wives and definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see it as a March pick. 

Literary Fiction

The Cartographers by Peng Shepard

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Cartographers by Peng Shepherd
Published by William Morrow on March 15, 2022
Pages: 400
Goodreads

From the critically acclaimed author of The Book of M, a highly imaginative thriller about a young woman who discovers that a strange map in her deceased father’s belongings holds an incredible, deadly secret—one that will lead her on an extraordinary adventure and to the truth about her family’s dark history.
What is the purpose of a map?

Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field, and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn't seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.
But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable, and also exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence… because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.
But why?
To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret, and discover the true power that lies in maps...
Perfect for fans of Joe Hill and V.E. Schwab, The Cartographers is an ode to art and science, history and magic—a spectacularly imaginative, modern story about an ancient craft and places still undiscovered.

Its being billed as a thriller but I would classify it more as a literary mystery. Semantics aside, Peng Shepard’s forthcoming novel sounds like it’s right up Book of the Month’s alley and is even getting comparisons to Alix E. Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January. When Nell Young discovers a seemingly worthless map among her father’s belongings and then finds it again near her father’s body when he is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library. Shepard’s gorgeous prose marries perfect with a well paced plot and an abundance of twists that will keep readers turning the pages. Book of the Month has really been into featuring literary titles with unconventional style lately, including, The Perishing by Natashia Deon and The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. Additionally, Shepard is a minority author and The Cartographer is blurbed by Charles Soule author of previous Book of the Month pick The Oracle Year. I have an early copy of this one and will definitely be reading it before release day!

A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsA Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch
Published by Dutton Books on March 15, 2022
Pages: 336
Goodreads

A Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by BuzzFeed, The Millions, Goodreads, BookRiot, and The Nerd Daily
“Caitlin Barasch’s writing overflows with humor, compassion, intrigue, and the chaos of identity. It overflows with life itself.”—Jonathan Safran Foer, New York Times bestselling author of Here I Am
“This book is a ride. An unruly study of fixation, performance, and the exquisite agony of anonymity.”—Raven Leilani, New York Times bestselling author of Luster
A wry and bold debut novel, which is at once an irresistible catastrophe waiting to happen and an unflinching exploration of how we narrate the stories of our lives, as an aspiring novelist finds herself stalking—and writing about—her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.
Twenty-four-year-old New York bookseller Naomi Ackerman is desperate to write a novel, but struggles to find a story to tell. When, after countless disastrous dates, she meets Caleb—a perfectly nice guy with a Welsh accent and a unique patience for all her quirks—she thinks she's finally stumbled onto a time-honored subject: love. Then Caleb's ex-girlfriend, Rosemary, enters the scene.
Upon learning that Rosemary is not safely tucked away in Caleb’s homeland overseas, but in fact lives in New York and also works in the literary world, Naomi is threatened and intrigued in equal measure. If they both fell for the same man, what else might they have in common? The more Naomi learns about Rosemary, the more her curiosity consumes her. Before she knows it, her casual Instagram stalking morphs into a friendship under false pretenses—and becomes the subject of her nascent novel.
As her lies and half-truths spiral out of control, and fact and fiction become increasingly difficult to untangle, Naomi must decide what—and who—she’s willing to sacrifice to write the perfect ending.

With comparisons to the much beloved Beach Read by Emily Henry. Barasch’s debut novel follows Naomi is a bookseller desperate to write her first novel. When meets Rosemary, her ex boyfriend’s current paramore, she begins following her around as inspiration for her novel but, over time, her curiosity about Rosemary and their similarities grows. This wry and bold debut seems like a perfect Book of the Month pick. It’s a book about books and writing and provides an insider look at bookselling and editing- think The Other Black Girl and Writers and Lovers. While it dives deep into Naomi and how social media curates our lives it also reads like a pager turner. Beyond all of these others factors, A Novel Obsession is also blurbed by previous Book of the Month author Ella Burman (The Comeback). Its a novel for our time that the publisher is billing as having the darkly comic voice of My Year of Rest and Relaxation and the page turner quality of the stories like You by Caroline Kepnes.

Horror

All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsAll the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on March 29, 2022
Pages: 368
Goodreads

Something deadly and mysterious stalks the members of an isolated polar expedition in this haunting and spellbinding historical horror novel, perfect for fans of Dan Simmons’ The Terror and Alma Katsu’s The Hunger.
In the wake of the First World War, Jonathan Morgan stows away on an Antarctic expedition, determined to find his rightful place in the world of men. Aboard the expeditionary ship of his hero, the world-famous explorer James “Australis” Randall, Jonathan may live as his true self—and true gender—and have the adventures he has always been denied. But not all is smooth sailing: the war casts its long shadow over them all, and grief, guilt, and mistrust skulk among the explorers.
When disaster strikes in Antarctica’s frozen Weddell Sea, the men must take to the land and overwinter somewhere which immediately seems both eerie and wrong; a place not marked on any of their part-drawn maps of the vast white continent. Now completely isolated, Randall’s expedition has no ability to contact the outside world. And no one is coming to rescue them.
In the freezing darkness of the Polar night, where the aurora creeps across the sky, something terrible has been waiting to lure them out into its deadly landscape…
As the harsh Antarctic winter descends, this supernatural force will prey on their deepest desires and deepest fears to pick them off one by one. It is up to Jonathan to overcome his own ghosts before he and the expedition are utterly destroyed.

Look, I know featuring two horror novels on this list is entirely wishful thinking but Book of the Month loves featuring books with crossover appeal and this historical novel is full of it. In the early 1900s, Jonathan Morgan stows away on a ship headed to Antarctica, excited to meet his hero and live in a world of men. Denied the chance to adventure as someone born to marry and bear children, Jonathan hopes to find a place he can truly belong. When disaster strikes and the crew of the expedition is forced to set out on foot and wait out the winter, a haunting light appears in the sky attempting to lure the crew away from one another and into the frozen night. With a vivid historical setting, an transgender lead, and plenty that goes bump in the night, All The White Spaces is historiccal winter horror at its finest. Its not blurbed by previous Book of the Month authors but it’s getting comparisons to Mexican Gothic, which I really enjoyed. 

Sundial by Catriona Ward

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsSundial by Catriona Ward
Published by Tor Nightfire on March 1, 2022
Pages: 304
Goodreads

"A story where nothing is what it seemsa thrilling hall of mirrors full of deeply disturbing twists. This book will haunt you." —Alex Michaelides, #1 New York Times bestselling author
A LibraryReads Top 10 Pick!STARRED review from Publishers Weekly!A Most-Anticipated Title in The Nerd Daily, LitReactor, GoodReads, CrimeReads, BookRiot, and more.
Sundial is a new, twisty psychological horror novel from Catriona Ward, internationally bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street.
You can't escape what's in your blood...
All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. But Rob fears for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind.
She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.
Callie is worried about her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely, and speaks of past secrets. And Callie fears that only one of them will leave Sundial alive…
The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.
Sundial is a heart-in-the-throat smash.” —Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman

Surprisingly, Sundial is getting compared to a host of previous Book of the Month picks in addition to being blurbed by a handful as well. Also, this one has so many elements that I absolutely love in a good psychological horror novel. Rob left the commune she grew up on in the Mojave desert to attempt to lead a normal life and she almost succeeds, until she uncovers a secret in her oldest daughter’s bedroom that forces them to flee back to Rob’s childhood home. The second point of view comes from Callie, who is certain that only one of them will make it out of Sundial alive. Ward’s sophomore novel is being compared to both Alex North’s picks (The Whisper Man and The Shadows), The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins, Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, and Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. It has also received glowing blurbs from the likes of Alex Michaeledes, Sarah Pinborough, Jennifer Saint (Ariadne), and Aramina Hall (Our Kind of Cruelty). A wild and twisty southwestern gothic that makes horrors of everyday life. It sounds like my kind of read!

Mysteries & Thrillers

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James (Repeat Author)

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
Published by Berkley on March 15, 2022
Pages: 352
Goodreads


A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel.

In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect--a rich, eccentric twenty-three-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion.
Oregon, 2017. Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases--a passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea's surprise, Beth says yes.
They meet regularly at Beth's mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she's not looking, and she could swear she's seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn't right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house?

Word on the virtual streets of bookstagram is that The Book of Cold Cases will likely be a pick, but know that it’s all just speculation at this point. Simone St. James has been a two time repeat Book of the Month author with The Broken Girls and The Sundown Motel. In The Book of Cold Cases, James tackles a popular trend in modern thriller: the incorporation of a podcast medium into the novel. I think the most popular selection that did this in recent memory was The Night Swim by Megan Golden. In 1977, Beth Greeer was accused of a double homicide but closed herself off to the world after being acquitted of the crime. Fast forward to 2017, Shea Collins works as a receptionist by day and as a true crime podcast host by night, solving long forgotten cold cases. When she has the chance to interview Beth and potentially get to the bottom of the decades old case and uncover the truths behind the shadows that lurk in the Geer house. With comparisons to Riley Sager’s Final Girls and praise from Sylvia Moreno Garcia, I think The Book of Cold Cases has a real likelihood of being a pick. 

Girl In Ice by Erica Ferencik

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsGirl in Ice by Erica Ferencik
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on March 1, 2022
Pages: 304
Goodreads

From the author of The River at Night and Into the Jungle comes a harrowing new thriller set in the unforgiving landscape of the Arctic Circle, as a brilliant linguist struggling to understand the apparent suicide of her twin brother ventures hundreds of miles north to try to communicate with a young girl who has thawed from the ice alive.
Valerie “Val” Chesterfield is a linguist trained in the most esoteric of disciplines: dead Nordic languages. Despite her successful career, she leads a sheltered life and languishes in the shadow of her twin brother Andy, an accomplished climate scientist stationed on a remote island off Greenland’s barren coast. But Andy is gone: a victim of suicide, having willfully ventured unprotected into 50 degree below zero weather. Val is inconsolable—and disbelieving. She suspects foul play.
When Wyatt, Andy’s fellow researcher in the Arctic, discovers a scientific impossibility­—a young girl frozen in the ice who thaws out alive, speaking a language no one understands—Val is his first call. Will she travel to the frozen North and meet this girl, try to comprehend what she is so passionately trying to communicate? Under the auspices of helping Wyatt interpret the girl’s speech, Val musters every ounce of her courage and journeys to the Artic to solve the mystery of her brother’s death.
The moment she steps off the plane, her fear threatens to overwhelm her. The landscape is fierce, and Wyatt, brilliant but difficult, is an enigma. But the girl is special, and Val’s connection with her is profound. Only something is terribly wrong; the child is sick, maybe dying, and the key to saving her lies in discovering the truth about Wyatt’s research. Can his data be trusted? And does it have anything to do with how and why Val’s brother died? With time running out, Val embarks on an incredible frozen odyssey—led by the unlikeliest of guides—to rescue the new family she has found in the most unexpected of places.

The second book on the list set in Antarctica, Erica Ferencik writes nature-centered thrillers that would fit right at home with the likes of Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConnaghy. Girl In Ice tells the story of a linguist who struggles with anxiety and is brought on board when a young woman is found frozen in ice and thaws out alive. Under the guise of wanting to decipher the girl’s language, but sets out to solve the mystery behind her brother’s alleged suicide as well. I have actually read the first few chapters of this one and I have to say that Valerie, like all of Ferencik’s female leads, is compelling and relatable. The environment also plays a major role in the story with its strong sense of place. It is not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors, and while its not the most likely thriller on this list, I think its worth picking up, whether Book of the Month chooses it or not.

The World Cannot Give by Tara Isabella Burton

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe World Cannot Give by Tara Isabella Burton
Published by Simon Schuster on March 8, 2022
Pages: 320
Goodreads


The Girls
meets Fight Club in this coming-of-age novel about queer desire, religious zealotry, and the hunger for transcendence among the devoted members of a cultic chapel choir in a prestigious Maine boarding school—and the obsessively ambitious, terrifyingly charismatic girl that rules over them.
When shy, sensitive Laura Stearns arrives at St. Dunstan’s Academy in Maine, she dreams that life there will echo her favorite novel, All Before Them, the sole surviving piece of writing by Byronic “prep school prophet” (and St. Dunstan’s alum) Sebastian Webster, who died at nineteen, fighting in the Spanish Civil War. She soon finds the intensity she is looking for among the insular, Webster-worshipping members of the school’s chapel choir, which is presided over by the charismatic, neurotic, overachiever Virginia Strauss. Virginia is as fanatical about her newfound Christian faith as she is about the miles she runs every morning before dawn. She expects nothing short of perfection from herself—and from the members of the choir.
Virginia inducts the besotted Laura into a world of transcendent music and arcane ritual, illicit cliff-diving and midnight crypt visits: a world that, like Webster’s novels, finally seems to Laura to be full of meaning. But when a new school chaplain challenges Virginia’s hold on the “family” she has created, and Virginia’s efforts to wield her power become increasingly dangerous, Laura must decide how far she will let her devotion to Virginia go.
The World Cannot Give is a shocking meditation on the power, and danger, of wanting more from the world.

I have to admit that The World Cannot Give is more on the list for me than the likelihood of it being a Book of the Month pick, but I want to tell you about it regardless. It should surprise no one that this one is about a religiously zealous group of choir singers who engage in arcane rituals and midnight trysts. It’s getting compared to a plethora of previous Book of the Month selections: The Mars Room, The Gifted School, White Ivy and The Girls by Emma Cline. It’s a novel that explores the depth of human longing for transcendence and the dangerous power of groupthink. Book of the Month also loves to feature school and campus novels like The Maidens and the aforementioned Gifted School. Told from Laura’s third person, present tense narrative, The World Cannot Give sounds like a powerhouse of a book and one that I would be thrilled to see Book of the Month pick.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (Repeat Author)

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Published by William Morrow on February 22, 2022
Pages: 320
Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest List comes a new locked room mystery, set in a Paris apartment building in which every resident has something to hide…
Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.
The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge
Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

With this one coming out at the tail end of February, I do think The Paris Apartment could be an add on for March. Additionally, the monthly hint is up on Book of the Month’s website and it would be hard to make another book fit the clue with the French that loosely reads “The whole world is a suspect” and a window that looks like the cover of Foley’s forthcoming novel. Furthermore, Foley is a repeat Book of the Month author with The Hunting Party and The Guest List. The plot of The Paris Apartment is fairly straightforward. It’s a locked room mystery set in a Paris apartment building. It asks the question of how well one actually knows their neighbors since everyone has secrets. Our protagonist is Jess, who needs a new start and thinks she’s found it when she convinces her half brother Ben to let her stay with him. But when she arrives in Paris, Ben is no where to be found. What’s more, the apartment and the building aren’t exactly welcoming. It sounds eerie, atmospheric and compulsively readable. I’m almost certain it will be a pick and I cannot wait to hear what you think of it!

Romance

*Honestly it’s anyone’s guess what Book of the Month is going to do with their romance picks since they’ve gone a little rogue recently by not always including one. However, I have am highlighting a handful of contemporary romances that, at the very least, I think should be on your radar!

A Brush With Love by Mazy Eddings

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsA Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 1, 2022
Pages: 336
Goodreads

Harper is anxiously awaiting placement into a top oral surgery residency program when she crashes (literally) into Dan. Harper would rather endure a Novocaine-free root canal than face any distractions, even one this adorable.
A first-year dental student with a family legacy to contend with, Dan doesn’t have the same passion for pulling teeth that Harper does. Though he finds himself falling for her, he is willing to play by Harper’s rules.
So with the greatest of intentions and the poorest of follow-throughs, the two set out to be “just friends.” But as they get to know each other better, Harper fears that trading fillings for feelings may make her lose control and can't risk her carefully ordered life coming undone, no matter how drool-worthy Dan is.
Blood, gore, and extra-long roots? No problem. The idea of falling in love? Torture.

One trope that Book of the Month loves to feature and that I personally love to read about, is the character driven woman that is just too busy with her career to worry about love. We saw it with the likes of The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood and Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelley and we now see it again with A Brush With Love. Our main character, Harper, is as passionate as they come and waiting for placement in an oral surgeon residency when she literally crashes into Dan, someone who lacks the passion- but not the family legacy- for dentistry. The last thing Harper wants is for a relationship with Dan to upend her well placed plans. A Brush With Love is getting compared to The Bride Test by Helen Hoang and is blurbed by Hoang as well, who describes A Brush With Love as an “adorable love story” that also explores difficult issues of how every relationship worth having requires work. I can’t wait to see if Book of the Month chooses it as their March romance pick. 

In A New York Minute by Kate Spencer

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsIn a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
Published by Forever on March 15, 2022
Pages: 320
Goodreads

A clever, tender, and romantic "Nora Ephron romp for the modern ages" (Christina Lauren) for readers of Jasmine Guillory, Abby Jimenez, and Sophie Cousens, this laugh-out-loud debut is a perceptive reminder that fate can have a sense of humor, and that love can happen . . . In a New York Minute.
Franny Doyle is having the worst day. She’s been laid off from her (admittedly mediocre) job, the subway doors ripped her favorite silk dress to ruins, and now she’s flashed her unmentionables to half of lower Manhattan. On the plus side, a dashing stranger came to her rescue with his (Gucci!) suit jacket. On the not-so-plus side, he can’t get away from her fast enough.
Worse yet? Someone posted their (entirely not) meet-cute online. Suddenly Franny and her knight-in-couture, Hayes Montgomery III, are the newest social media sensation, and all of New York is shipping #SubwayQTs.
Only Franny and Hayes couldn’t be a more disastrous match. She’s fanciful, talkative, and creative. He’s serious, shy, and all about numbers. Luckily, in a city of eight million people, they never have to meet again. Yet somehow, Hayes and Franny keep running into each other—and much to their surprise, they enjoy each other’s company. A lot. But when Franny’s whole world is turned upside down (again!), can she find the courage to trust in herself and finally have the life—and love—she’s always wanted?
“Spins a catastrophic meet-cute into a richly realized romance that's surrounded by even more love stories—between friends, between families, and between New Yorkers and their city. You'll devour it.”—Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, USA Today bestselling authors of The Royal We and The Heir Affair “A love story to friendship, discovering what—and who—makes you feel truly yourself, and New York City. I flew through this book and enjoyed every moment!”—Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author of While We Were Dating “A sparkling delight about found and chosen family, being brave even in the tiny moments, and the rewards we can reap when we put our authentic selves out there. What a sweet, hilarious treat.”—Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author “A frolicky, playful rom-com about finding Mr. Right when everything else goes wrong.”—Abby Jimenez, New York Times bestselling author of Life’s Too Short                                                                       “A perfect New York romance, as sweet, steamy, and surprising as the city itself.”—Abbi Waxman, USA Today bestselling author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill “If you’re looking for the perfect ‘meet cute,’ look no further.  Adorable banter and countless laugh-out-loud moments makes this charming romance a true delight.”—Farrah Rochon, USA Today bestselling author of The Dating Playbook

I’m not sure why books set in New York are so damn popular but I had to include one on my list, because of course I did. Another debut, Kate Spencer introduces readers to Franny Doyle, who gets swept up in the complexities of social media fame when her clothes get caught in the doors of the subway and she flashes half of lower Manhattan. A kind, albeit aloof strangers in the form of Hayes Montgomery offers her his suit jackets, pictures are taken, and before either of them know it- they have gone viral. Opposites attract in this romantic comedy about overcoming the hard times and getting out of your own way to go after what you really want. It sounds and looks like a romance that Book of the Month would pick, plus Farah Rochon (The Boyfriend Project) praised its witty banter and laugh out loud moments. Its also blurbed by Christina Lauren and Jasmine Guillory whose books have previously been chosen by Book of the Month. It sounds sweet and escapist, which I know is exactly what I need sometimes. 

Sari Not Sari by Sonya Singh

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsSari, Not Sari by Sonya K. Singh
Published by Simon Schuster on April 5, 2022
Pages: 304
Goodreads

This delightful debut rom-com follows the adventures of a woman trying to connect with her South Asian roots and introduces readers to a memorable cast of characters in a veritable feast of food, family traditions, and fun.
Manny Dogra is the beautiful young CEO of Breakup, a highly successful company that helps people manage their relationship breakups. As preoccupied as she is with her business, she’s also planning her wedding to handsome architect Adam Jamieson while dealing with the loss of her beloved parents.
For reasons Manny has never understood, her mother and father, who were both born in India, always wanted her to become an “All-American” girl. So that’s what she did. She knows next to nothing about her South Asian heritage, and that’s never been a problem—until her parents are no longer around, and an image of Manny that’s been Photoshopped to make her skin look more white appears on a major magazine cover. Suddenly, the woman who built an empire encouraging people to be true to themselves is having her own identity crisis.
But when an irritating client named Sammy Patel approaches Manny with an odd breakup request, the perfect solution presents itself: If they both agree to certain terms, he’ll give her a crash course in being “Indian” at his brother’s wedding.
What follows is days of dancing and dal, masala and mehndi as Manny meets the lovable, if endlessly interfering, aunties and uncles of the Patel family, and, along the way, discovers much more than she could ever have anticipated.

An ownvoices debut about a woman trying to connect with her Asian American roots feels a lot like recent picks such Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband and The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. This one flips the script a little on its head by introducing us to Manny, who runs a company which helps individuals get through and manage difficult breakups. Manny has spent her life trying to be the all “American” girl at the detriment of her Indian roots. When she meets Sammy, she agrees to help him with an odd breakup request on the condition that he give her a crash course in Indian culture at his brother’s wedding. Its a fake relationship romance with plenty of culture, delicious food and laugh out loud moment. Sari Not Sari would be an early release for Book of the Month if it was picked in March and while its not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors it is getting compared to Helen Hoang and Jasmine Guillory novels. I definitely think it would fit right in with Book of the Month’s diverse romance selections. 

Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Atlas Six (The Atlas, #1) by Olivie Blake
Published by Tor Books on March 1, 2022
Pages: 470
Goodreads

The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few...
- Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.- Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.- Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.- Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.- Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.
When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

This contemporary adult fantasy novel is getting comparisons to a variety of past Book of the Month picks like Project Hail Mary, Red White and Royal Blue, and Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. This one just sounds like a book for people who love books and libraries. In its world, a select few magicians study the secrets of the lost Library of Alexandria. At the novel’s outset, six budding magicians are chosen to compete for five spots within the the echelons of the Alexandrian society. I for one love competition books and all that they entail. The Atlas Six was originally self published and is now being published by a big name publisher for the first time. It would be a great opportunity for Book of the Month to feature a lesser known author and the book is blurbed by previous Book of the Month author, Chloe Gong, who calls the book “lethally smart.” I, for one, can’t wait to read it!

Young Adult

Gallant by Victoria Schwab (Repeat Author)

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsGallant by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab, Manuel Sumberac
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 1, 2022
Pages: 352
Goodreads

Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?

Book of the Month featured Schwab with The Invisible Life of Addie LeRue and I wouldn’t be surprised if they featured Gallant as well. Schwab’s forthcoming novel is described as The Secret Garden meets Crimson Peak and I am here for all the dark fantasy, gothic vibes. Olivia Prior has been away at Merilance School for Girls for some time when she receives a letter summoning her back to her ancestral home of Gallant. But Gallant is haunted with secrets around every corner and ghouls that wander the halls. Then Olivia finds herself in a section of the house that is like the rest but not, kicking off a series of events that might unravel the secrets of Gallant, the origins of her family and even Olivia herself. Gallant isn’t blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors but Schwab is a repeat author and this standalone feels like a cross between Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno Garcia and Coraline by Neil Gaimen. We’ll just have to see if Book of the Month picks it as their YA selection next month!

Honorable Mentions

The Next Thing You Know by Jessica Strawser

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Next Thing You Know by Jessica Strawser
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 22, 2022
Pages: 352
Goodreads


A musician facing the untimely end of his career. An end-of-life doula with everything, and nothing, to lose. A Star Is Born meets Me Before You in this powerful novel by the author of A Million Reasons Why.

As an end-of-life doula, Nova Huston’s job—her calling, her purpose, her life—is to help terminally ill people make peace with their impending death. Unlike her business partner, who swears by her system of checklists, free-spirited Nova doesn’t shy away from difficult clients: the ones who are heartbreakingly young, or prickly, or desperate for a caregiver or companion.
When Mason Shaylor shows up at her door, Nova doesn’t recognize him as the indie-favorite singer-songwriter who recently vanished from the public eye. She knows only what he’s told her: That life as he knows it is over. His deteriorating condition makes playing his guitar physically impossible—as far as Mason is concerned, he might as well be dead already.
Except he doesn’t know how to say goodbye.
Helping him is Nova’s biggest challenge yet. She knows she should keep clients at arm’s length. But she and Mason have more in common than anyone could guess… and meeting him might turn out to be the hardest, best thing that’s ever happened to them both.
The Next Thing You Know is an emotional, resonant story about the power of human connection, love when you least expect it, hope against the odds, and what it really takes to live life with no regrets.

The Honeybee Emeralds by Amy Tector

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsThe Honeybee Emeralds by Amy Tector
on March 29, 2022
Goodreads

Alice Ahmadi has never been certain of where she belongs. When she discovers a famed emerald necklace while interning at a struggling Parisian magazine, she is plunged into a glittering world of diamonds and emeralds, courtesans and spies, and the long-buried secrets surrounding the necklace and its glamorous former owners.
When Alice realizes the mysterious Honeybee Emeralds could be her chance to save the magazine, she recruits her friends Lily and Daphne to form the “Fellowship of the Necklace.” Together, they set out to uncover the romantic history of the gems. Through diaries, letters, and investigations through the winding streets and iconic historic landmarks of Paris, the trio begins to unravel more than just the secrets of the necklace’s obsolete past. Along the way, Lily and Daphne’s relationships are challenged, tempered, and changed. Lily faces her long-standing attraction to a friend, who has achieved the writing success that eluded her. Daphne confronts her failing relationship with her husband, while also facing simmering problems in her friendship with Lily. And, at last, Alice finds her place in the world—although one mystery still remains: how did the Honeybee Emeralds go from the neck to American singer Josephine Baker during the Roaring Twenties to the basement of a Parisian magazine?

Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsFour Aunties and a Wedding Published by Berkley Books on March 29, 2022
Pages: 304
Goodreads

The aunties are back, fiercer than ever and ready to handle any catastrophe--even the mafia--in this delightful and hilarious sequel by Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties.Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can't wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name.
Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can't believe Staphanie and her family aren't just like her own, they are The Family--actual mafia, and they're using Meddy's wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won't let Meddy's wedding ceremony become a murder scene--over their dead bodies--and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson (Repeat Author)

What’s In The Box! – March 2022 PredictionsNine Lives by Peter Swanson
Published by William Morrow & Company on March 15, 2022
Pages: 336
Goodreads

The story of nine strangers who receive a cryptic list with their names on it - and then begin to die in highly unusual circumstances.
Nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the mail. Nothing else, just a list of names on a single sheet of paper. None of the nine people know or have ever met the others on the list. They dismiss it as junk mail, a fluke - until very, very bad things begin happening to people on the list. First, a well-liked old man is drowned on a beach in the small town of Kennewick, Maine. Then, a father is shot in the back while running through his quiet neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. A frightening pattern is emerging, but what do these nine people have in common? Their professions range from oncology nurse to aspiring actor.
FBI agent Jessica Winslow, who is on the list herself, is determined to find out. Could there be some dark secret that binds them all together? Or is this the work of a murderous madman? As the mysterious sender stalks these nine strangers, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering who will be crossed off next....

What About You?

What March releases are you hoping to see as picks? What do you think of my list? Let me know in the comments!

4 responses to “What’s In The Box! – March 2022 Predictions

  1. Ann

    The Love of My Life, One Italian Summer & Girl in Ice all grab my attention.

    And I am a little freaked out because my local library has not added them to the catalog yet. They usually make titles available in advance and I am sometimes first on a wait list.

    I think the whole supply chain thing has finally hit.

    I dropped my BOTM subscription in December and was not too concerned when I saw the past couple of months selections.

    But there have been cases in the recent past where I was able to quickly get a book from BOTM that was unavailable elsewhere. So this may be the first month I may miss being a member 😢. I had just gotten to the point where I could not justify buying the book if it was available (usually in a timely manner) from my local library right up the street. And they even offer curbside delivery.

    Thank you for this interesting list and the descriptions & your thoughts. One of the greatest pleasures after the reading itself is the pursuing of what to read next!

  2. Claire Talbot

    OH my – so many possible great choices! I am interested in several – Tobacco Wives, Fencing with the King, Gallant, and the Love of my Life all tempt me. It will be interesting to see what is in the box this month!

  3. Jan S

    Wow, good thing I was sitting down when I got the news this morning there will be 7 selections in March. Wondering if they will stop the add on selections. My TBR is really long but it will be exciting to see the change next week.

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