We are back with another round up of the Book of the Month picks. While there were only five main picks this month there were also five add ons for a total of ten choices! We know that some were unhappy there weren’t more thriller picks and felt overwhelmed by number of heavy, emotional reads but we were excited both by the range of genres and the diversity of the authors selected.
We were also happy to accurately guess half of the picks and to see so many debuts, romances, and BIPOC authors.
November is a surprisingly full month of releases and we cannot wait to break down some of them in the form of this month’s Book of the Month picks!
We Are The Light By Matthew Quick (Contemporary Fiction)We Are the Light by Matthew Quick
Published by Avid Reader Press / Simon Schuster on November 1, 2022
LIFE IS FULL OF GUARDIAN ANGELS.
Lucas Goodgame lives in Majestic, Pennsylvania, a quaint suburb that has been torn apart by a recent tragedy. Everyone in Majestic sees Lucas as a hero—everyone, that is, except Lucas himself. Insisting that his deceased wife, Darcy, visits him every night in the form of an angel, Lucas spends his time writing letters to his former Jungian analyst, Karl. It is only when Eli, an eighteen-year-old young man whom the community has ostracized, begins camping out in Lucas’s backyard that an unlikely alliance takes shape and the two embark on a journey to heal their neighbors and, most important, themselves.
From Matthew Quick, the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, We Are the Light is an unforgettable novel about the quicksand of grief and the daily miracle of love. The humorous, soul-baring story of Lucas Goodgame offers an antidote to toxic masculinity and celebrates the healing power of art. In this tale that will stay with you long after the final page is turned, Quick reminds us that guardian angels are all around us—sometimes in the forms we least expect.
This evocative and moving contemporary novel is a quiet yet hopeful story set in a Pennyslvania town. Honestly it’s a plot that gives us serious Up vibes in the best way! It tells the story about an older gentleman named Lucas who believes that he is being visited nightly by his recently deceased wife and copes by writing letters to his hero, Karl Jung. While wrestling with feelings of inadequey, he meets and befriends young, outcasted Eli. It is through this friendship that both individuals, and the community as whole, can slowly begin to heal. This brief, powerful novel is being praised for Quick’s sarcastic and witty style, relateale and flawed characters, and his sensitive treatment of mental health issues. Readers picking this one up should know that it’s an epistolary novel and the people who did not like Quick’s latest novel disliked it due to it’s heavy handedness with psychological theories. Additionally, We Are The Light strikes us as a book where you either love or hate the main character. Book of the Month describes this one as inspirational and quirky. It definitely sounds like one of the lighter reads this month!
The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang Magical Realism/Repeat Author)The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang
Published by St. Martin's Press on November 15, 2022
Ohioana Book Award finalist Ruth Emmie Lang returns with a new cast of ordinary characters with extraordinary abilities.
Five years ago, Nora Wilder disappeared. The older of her two daughters, Zadie, should have seen it coming, because she can literally see things coming. But not even her psychic abilities were able to prevent their mother from vanishing one morning.
Zadie’s estranged younger sister, Finn, can’t see into the future, but she has an uncannily good memory, so good that she remembers not only her own memories, but the echoes of memories other people have left behind. On the afternoon of her graduation party, Finn is seized by an “echo” more powerful than anything she’s experienced before: a woman singing a song she recognizes, a song about a bird…
When Finn wakes up alone in an aviary with no idea of how she got there, she realizes who the memory belongs to: Nora.
Now, it’s up to Finn to convince her sister that not only is their mom still out there, but that she wants to be found. Against Zadie’s better judgement, she and Finn hit the highway, using Finn’s echoes to retrace Nora’s footsteps and uncover the answer to the question that has been haunting them for years: Why did she leave?
But the more time Finn spends in their mother’s past, the harder it is for her to return to the present, to return to herself. As Zadie feels her sister start to slip away, she will have to decide what lengths she is willing to go to to find their mother, knowing that if she chooses wrong, she could lose them both for good.
We are so stoked for this one. Haley especially adored Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance when it was a pick a few years ago. With Lang’s trademark gorgeous prose and just a touch of magical realism readers are thrown into a story about estranged siblings and the search for their lost mother that brings them back together. Zadie, who can see the future and Finn, with an uncanny good memory, set out to find their money. But as Finn loses herself in her mother’s past the stakes of the search go up significantly as Zadie must decide what she is willing to risk, or lose both her sister and her mother forever. One of my favorite things about Beasts was her exquisitely drawn characters and the enchanting story that she weaved. The Wilderwomen promises more of the same magic and we can’t wait! Reviews for this one seem mostly positive and the only complaints we can find were by those who were wanting something different, though they can’t seem to explain what exactly. Regardless, we will both likely add this one to our box and we can’t wait to share our thoughts on it later this month.
The Last Party by Claude Mackintosh (Thriller/Repeat Author)The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on November 8, 2022
At midnight, one of them is dead.By morning, all of them are suspects.
It's a party to end all parties, but not everyone is here to celebrate.
On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests. His vacation homes on Mirror Lake are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbors.
But by midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.
On New Year’s Day, Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects. The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbors, friends and family—and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.
With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead…but who finally killed him.
In a village with this many secrets, murder is just the beginning.
Claire Mackintosh is a repeat author from many years ago and it’s unsurprising that this police procedural made the cut. With it’s claustrophobic mountain setting of North Wales, Rhy Lloyd returns to the isolated community to develop a luxury resort across the lake from the insulated village. But when the resort throws open it’s doors for a New Year Eve’s party, Rhys’ body is discovered in the lake the following morning. Soon everyone who attended the party is a suspect. This police procedural mystery is an evenly paced story with an atmospheric setting. However, readers should go into this one knowing that reviewers are split on their feelings about Mackintosh’s latest. But as it happens with many mysteries the wide cast of characters and nonlinear timelines left some readers confused and unsure what events were taking place when. But if you are a lover of Mackintosh’s work or enjoy a solid police procedural, The Last Party is definitely the pick for you.
White Horse by Erika T. Wurth (Horror/Debut)White Horse by Erika T. Wurth
Published by Flatiron Books on November 1, 2022
White Horse is a gritty, vibrant debut from Erika T. Wurth about an Indigenous woman who must face her past when she discovers a bracelet haunted by her mother’s spirit.
Some people are haunted in more ways than one.
Heavy metal, ripped jeans, Stephen King novels, and the occasional beer at the White Horse have defined urban Indian Kari James’s life so far. But when her cousin Debby finds an old family bracelet that once belonged to Kari’s mother, it inadvertently calls up both her mother’s ghost and a monstrous entity, and her willful ignorance about her past is no longer sustainable…
Haunted by visions of her mother and hunted by this mysterious creature, Kari must search for what happened to her mother all those years ago. Her father, permanently disabled from a car crash, can’t help her. Her Auntie Squeaker seems to know something but isn’t eager to give it all up at once. Debby’s anxious to help, but her controlling husband keeps getting in the way. Kari’s journey toward a truth long denied by both her family and law enforcement forces her to confront her dysfunctional relationships, thoughts about a friend she lost in childhood, and her desire for the one thing she’s always wanted but could never have.
Honestly, while this one was on our radar as a November release, we honestly never thought it would be a Book of the Month pick. It’s the rare month that Book of the Month features a horror novel and we are thrilled to see that they are including one by an indigenous author in time for Native American Heritage Month. With comparisons to The Death of Jane Lawrence and The Last House On Needless Street, White Horse is a gritty vibrant debut about an indigenous woman who is haunted by her grandmother’s spirit through an old bracelet that also has a mysterious entity attached to it. We are unsure just how heavy the horror is in this one. Haley is more than happy to bite that bullet for all of you and will report back on where it falls on the scary scale! Dark and atmospheric it’s set in Denver, and most reviewers are describing it as a mystery/thriller with horror elements. It explores themes of grief, trauma, addiction, multiracial Indigenous identity, and healing. We are always excited to see the kids of horror Book of the Month decides to pick up, and Haley, at least, is ready to dive in.
Someday Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli (Literary Fiction/Debut)Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli
Published by Graydon House on November 1, 2022
A stunning and witty debut novel about a young woman’s emotional journey through unimaginable loss, pulled along by her tight-knit Nigerian family, a posse of new friends, and the love and laughter she shared with her husband. Onyi Nwabineli is a fresh new voice for fans of Yaa Gyasi, Queenie and I May Destroy You.
Here are three things you should know about my husband:1. He was the great love of my life despite his penchant for going incommunicado.2. He was, as far as I and everyone else could tell, perfectly happy. Which is significant because…3. On New Year’s Eve, he committed suicide.
And here is one thing you should know about me:1. I found him.
Bonus fact: No. I am not okay.
Real talk for a second. I, Haley, always shy away from suicide novels. As someone who struggles with mental health issues and who has spouse who had previously been suicidal it’s a very touchy subject for me. But every once a while, a novel like this speaks to me and I have to pick it up. In a nutshell, Someday Maybe is the story a young woman who lost her husband to suicide and was the one who found. It’s a story of her journey in the aftermath as she grapples with the grief and loss.
Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn (Young Adult Fantasy/Repeat)Bloodmarked (Legendborn, #2) by Tracy Deonn
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 8, 2022
The shadows have risen, and the line is law.
All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights—only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:
A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.
But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.
Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.
When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.
If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.
We aren’t sure about you but we absolutely loved Legendborn when it came out and we are thrilled to see Book of the Month pick up it’s sequel- since that doesn’t always happen. Bloodmarked picks up right where Legendborn left off with Bree and her friends face even more challenges together. Reviewers are going crazy over this one. Forget struggling to find a 1⭐ review, we had a hard time finding a 4⭐ review. Readers are adoring this one, all 551 pages of it. I think the biggest warning we want to give about this one is that it ends on a cliffhanger and we have no idea when we’ll get the next one. We can’t wait!
Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan (Romance)Before I Let Go (Skyland, #1) by Kennedy Ryan
Published by Forever on November 15, 2022
“Real, raw, magnificent—Before I Let Go is the beautiful angst I love to read.” —Colleen Hoover, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love alone couldn’t solve or save everything.
It couldn’t save their marriage.
Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she’s is finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm, co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.
Soon, one stolen kiss leads to another…and then more. It's hot. It's illicit. It's all good—until old wounds reopen. Is it too late for them to find forever? Or could they even be better, the second time around?
Award-winning and bestselling "powerhouse" author Kennedy Ryan is at her absolute best in this compelling, scorching novel about hope and healing, and what it truly means to love for a lifetime (USA Today).
This one has been on our radar thanks to awesome bookish podcasts like Book Talk etc. This contemporary novel is a poignent and emotional story about a couple who has fallen in and out of love more times than they can count. Yasmen and Josiah are making it work as co parents to their two children and running their small business together but here’s the thing, even though they’ve been divorced for over two years they still have feelings for each other. This second chance romance features very real and loveable characters and it’s wrapped up in an intense story of raw feelings and honest experiences. So many reviewers have praised this one for Ryna’s trademark deep characters evocative narrative. Readers should go into this one knowing that it’s open door. It’s getting comparisons to previous Book of the Month picks like Take A Hint Dani Brown- which Haley loved when it was a selection. Go into this one knowing this isn’t going to be a lighthearted or comedic read.
Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro (Literary Fiction)Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro
Published by Knopf Publishing Group on October 11, 2022
A GRIPPING NEW NOVEL FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF INHERITANCE
One Night. One Fateful Choice. A Constellation of Lives Changed Forever.
SIGNAL FIRES opens on a summer night in 1985. Three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything on Division Street changes. Each of their lives, and that of Ben Wilf, a young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered. For the Wilf family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.
On Division Street, time has moved on. When the Shenkmans arrive—a young couple expecting a baby boy—it is as if the accident never happened. But when Waldo, the Shenkmans’ brilliant, lonely son who marvels at the beauty of the world and has a native ability to find connections in everything, befriends Dr. Wilf, now retired and struggling with his wife’s decline, past events come hurtling back in ways no one could ever have foreseen.
In Dani Shapiro’s first work of fiction in fifteen years, she returns to the form that launched her career, with a riveting, deeply felt novel that examines the ties that bind families together—and the secrets that can break them apart. SIGNAL FIRES is a work of haunting beauty by a masterly storyteller.
Shapiro’s novel has been getting A LOT of buzz so we’re not surprised that Book of the Month picked it up as an add on even though it came out in mid October. Set inn1985 it follows three teenagers who get behind the wheel after a night of drinking. When tragedy strikes their lives, and the life of the doctor who is first on the scene of the fatal accident, will never be the same. Signal Fires is not for the faint of heart. It’s emotional and heavy and tragic. It explores the depths of grief and loss and how it impacts individuals and communities. The publisher has been comparing Signal Fires to Writers & Lovers and The Dutch House. Clocking in at least than 250 pages, it’s a short but powerful little book. If you added to your box, let us know what you think of it!
The Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch (Romance)The Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch
Published by Berkley Books on November 1, 2022
Two exes wake up together with wedding bands on their fingers--and no idea how they got there. They have just one New Year's Eve at the end of 1999 to figure it out in this big-hearted and nostalgic rom-com from New York Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch.
When college sweethearts Frankie and Ezra broke up before graduation, they vowed to never speak to each other again. Ten years later, on the eve of the new millennium, they find themselves back on their snowy, picturesque New England campus together for the first time for the wedding of mutual friends. Frankie's on the rise as a music manager for the hottest bands of the late '90s, and Ezra's ready to propose to his girlfriend after the wedding. Everything is going to plan--they just have to avoid the chasm of emotions brought up when they inevitably come face to face.
But when they wake up in bed next to each other the following morning with Ezra's grandmother's diamond on Frankie's finger, they have zero memory of how they got there--or about any of the events that transpired the night before. Now Frankie and Ezra have to put aside old grievances in order to figure out what happened, what didn't happen...and to ask themselves the most troubling question of all: what if they both got it wrong the first time around?
There was some chatter that The Rewind would be an Aardvark pick based on the provided hints. It’s getting compared to other holiday romances that Book of the Month has featured like In A Holidazs by Christina Lauren and This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousins. Definitely the funniest romance on the list, The Rewind tells the story of two exes who went their separate ways after a traumatic break up in their twenties, only to come back together ten years later for one night. When they wake up, it is ambiguous whether they are married or not and they reflect back both on their break up and to he night they shared. Reviewers are describing this one as unexpectedly insightful and thought provoking as Scotch traces the ups and down of a relationship, the trauma of separating and the healing process of coming back together. Set around New Year’s Eve it seems like the perfect holiday romance. The biggest frustration we could find about the novel was it’s third person viewpoint.
The Cloisters by Katy HaysThe Cloisters by Katy Hays
Published by Atria Books on November 1, 2022
In this “sinister, jaw-dropping” (Sarah Penner, author of The Lost Apothecary) debut novel, a circle of researchers uncover a mysterious deck of tarot cards and shocking secrets in New York’s famed Met Cloisters.
When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.
Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.
A haunting and magical blend of genres, The Cloisters is a gripping debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
This one was a confirmed pick so we weren’t surprised to see it in all honesty. The publisher is describing The Cloisters as a thriller and Book of the Month has categorized it as gothic, while reviewers are calling it dark academia a la The Secret History. With it’s scholarly setting, The Cloisters is full of mystery and magical realism and follows a female friendship when they discover a deck of tarot cards. It’s giving us serious Cartographer vibes- which for many isn’t a bad thing. Reviewers who read a lot of these kinds of books have said that The Cloisters felt rather predictable and didn’t add anything knew to the milieu. But there were plenty of readers who loved this one for it’s atmosphere and rich characterization. If you added this one to your box, report back and let us know what you thought of it!
What’s in Our Boxes?
Haley’s Box #1
Haley’s Box #2
While Emily is still undecided and what she will be adding to her November box- lots to pick from- don’t forget to let us know what you’re picking by commenting below or tagging us on IG!
What About You?
What did you think of the November selections? Did any of our picks make it into your box? Let us know in the comments!