What’s In The Box!- December 2022 Predictions

Posted November 26, 2022 by stuckint in Book of the Month, Predictions, Uncategorized / 1 Comment

Hey everyone and welcome to another What’s In The Box post where we make predictions about what Book of the Month might choose as their monthly selection.

We cannot believe that this is the last predicctions post of the year. We were pretty happy to see that we got half of the picks correct in our last post.

Remember that these are just guesses. All our guesses could be completely wrong. Regardless, we hope you enjoy our list and let us know if we missed any of your hopefuls!

Contemporary Fiction

The Vibrant Year by Sonali Dev

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsThe Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev
Published by Mindy's Book Studio on December 1, 2022
Pages: 316
Goodreads

Living on their own terms means being there for one another.
When sixty-five-year-old Bindu Desai inherits a million dollars, she’s astounded—and horrified. The windfall threatens to expose a shameful mistake from her youth. On an impulse, Bindu quickly spends it on something unexpected: a condo in a posh retirement community in Florida.
The impulsive decision blindsides Bindu’s daughter-in-law, Aly. At forty-seven, Aly still shares a home with Bindu even after her divorce from Bindu’s son. But maybe this change is just the push Aly needs to fight for her own dreams.
As Bindu and Aly navigate their new dynamic, Aly’s daughter, Cullie, is faced with losing the business that made her a tech-world star. The only way to save it is to deliver a new idea to her investors—and they want the dating app she pitched them in a panic. Problem is, Cullie has never been on a real date. Naturally, enlisting her single mother and grandmother to help her with the research is the answer.
From USA Today bestselling author Sonali Dev comes a heartfelt novel about three generations of hilarious, unconventional, ambitious women who embark on a shared journey of self-discovery. Join the Desai women as they come together to embrace the hijinks and heartbreak of facing their greatest fears to finally live their most vibrant lives.

Here on Stuck in the Stacks we love featuring titles with older characters and The Vibrant Year fits that bill perfectly. The novel opens with sixty-five year old Bindu inheriting a million dollars and she decides to spend it on a condo in a retirement community in Florida. Enter Bindu’s daughter in law Aly and Aly’s daughter Cullie. Each have their own struggles that complicate the effects of Bindu’s choice. It’s story about three generations of women, their ambitions and their relationships. While Dev typically writes contemporary romance, this contemporary novel brings that same heart and wit to a more platonic stage. While its not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors it fits at home nicely with other Book of the Month selections like The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh and Killers Of A Certain Age by Deanna Rayborn. An Amazon Firs Read pick, The Vibrant Years seems like a perfect book club pick.

A Quiet Life by Ethan Joella (Repeat)

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsA Quiet Life by Ethan Joella
Published by Scribner on November 29, 2022
Pages: 304
Goodreads

From the author of A Little Hopea Read with Jenna Bonus Pick—comes an enormously powerful and life-affirming novel about three individuals whose lives intersect in unforeseen ways.
Set in a close-knit Pennsylvania suburb in the grip of winter, A Quiet Life follows three people grappling with loss and finding a tender wisdom in their grief.
Chuck Ayers used to look forward to nothing so much as his annual trip to Hilton Head with his wife, Cat—that yearly taste of relaxation they’d become accustomed to in retirement, after a lifetime of working and raising two children. Now, just months after Cat’s death, Chuck finds that he can’t let go of her things—her favorite towel, the sketchbooks in her desk drawer—as he struggles to pack for a trip he can’t imagine taking without her.
Ella Burke delivers morning newspapers and works at a bridal shop to fill her days while she anxiously awaits news—any piece of information—about her missing daughter. Ella adjusts to life in a new apartment and answers every call on her phone, hoping her daughter will reach out one day.
After the sudden death of her father, Kirsten Bonato set aside her veterinary school aspirations, finding comfort in the steady routine of working at an animal shelter. But as time passes, old dreams and new romantic interests begin to surface—and Kirsten finds herself at another crossroads.
In this beautifully crafted and profoundly moving novel, three parallel narratives converge in poignant and unexpected ways, as each character bravely presses onward, trying to recover something they have lost. Emotionally riveting and infused with hope, A Quiet Life celebrates humanity in the midst of uncertainty.

Since Joella’s novel ccme out a little later in the month, we still think there is a good chance Book of the Month will pick it up for the month of December. A quiet, character driven story, A Quiet Life is set over the course of a single winter in a Pennsylvania. The plot follows three individuals grappling with loss and coping with grief. As beautifully crafted and profound as A Little Hope this one is definitely for those hoping to sink into something immersive and cozy this winter- while also tackling difficult issues. The publisher is comparing it to previous Book of the Month selection The Gifted School and has been blurbed by a handful of Book of the Month authors. Charmaine Wilkerson (Black Cake) describes it as a book you’ll want to read “slowly and savor the details”. Qian Julie Wang (Beautiful Country) praises Joella’s characters for their courage and heart and characterizes his prose as “elegant”. With a 4.4 average rating on Goodreads, we think it still has a high chance of being a Book of the Month pick.

Historical Fiction

The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsThe Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on January 17, 2023
Pages: 352
Goodreads

From New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict—she'll have to choose: her country or her sisters?
Between the World Wars, the six Mitford sisters dominate the English political, literary, and social scenes. Though they've weathered scandals before, the family falls into disarray when Diana divorces her husband to marry a fascist leader and Unity follows her sister's lead, inciting rumors that she's become Hitler's own mistress.
Novelist Nancy Mitford is the only member of her family to keep in touch with Diana and Unity after their desertion, so it falls to her to act when her sisters become spies for the Nazi party.
Probing the torrid political climate of World War II and the ways that sensible people can be sucked into radical action, The Mitford Affair follows Nancy's valiant efforts to end the war and the cost of placing loyalty to her country above loyalty to her family.

Marie Benedict was a selection with her previous title: The Personal Librarian and we wouldn’t be surprised if Book of the Month chose her again with her latest offering- The Mitford Affair. It follows the six Mitford sisters- one of the gems of pre WWII England. When Diana divorces her wealthy husband to marry a fascist leader and younger Unity follows her sister to Munich, the scandals write themselves. Nancy MItford, a writer at heart, begins to uncover the realities of the company her sisters keep and then Great Britain goes to war with Germany and all hell breaks loose. An all too prescient novel, The Mitford Affair speaks to how rational, intelligent people can be seduced by radical ideas. Blurbed by Fiona Davis (The Magnolia Palace) and Lauren Willig (The English Wife), BEnedict’s latest is a timely, suspenseful novel that would be a perfect December- or January- pick.

Night Wherever We Go by Tracy Rose Peyton (Debut)

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsNight Wherever We Go by Tracey Rose Peyton
Published by Ecco Press on January 31, 2023
Pages: 304
Goodreads

A gripping, radically intimate debut novel about a group of enslaved women staging a covert rebellion against their owners
On a struggling Texas plantation, six enslaved women slip from their sleeping quarters and gather in the woods under the cover of night. The Lucys—as they call the plantation owners, after Lucifer himself—have decided to turn around the farm’s bleak financial prospects by making the women bear children. They have hired a “stockman” to impregnate them. But the women are determined to protect themselves.
Now each of the six faces a choice. Nan, the doctoring woman, has brought a sack of cotton root clippings that can stave off children when chewed daily. If they all take part, the Lucys may give up and send the stockman away. But a pregnancy for any of them will only encourage the Lucys further. And should their plan be discovered, the consequences will be severe.
Visceral and arresting, Night Wherever We Go illuminates each woman’s individual trials and desires while painting a subversive portrait of collective defiance. Unflinching in her portrayal of America’s gravest injustices, while also deeply attentive to the transcendence, love, and solidarity of women whose interior lives have been underexplored, Tracey Rose Peyton creates a story of unforgettable power.

With comparisons to previous Book of the Month picks like Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore and The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr, Night Wherever We Go is a haunting, visceral novel about a group of enslaved women who decide to stage a rebellion against their owners. Set in Texas, six enslaved women meet in the woods under the cover of darkness to plan their escape from their tyrannical plantation owners. With compelling, immersive, and beautiful writing, Night Wherever We Go has serious book club potential with its powerful themes and character-driven narrative. While it’s not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors, it has a respectable 4.5 rating on Goodreads from early reviewers and would be a great read for anyone looking to diversify their reading next month.

Literary Fiction

The Ingenue by Rachel Kapelke Dale

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsThe Ingenue by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Published by St. Martin's Press on December 6, 2022
Pages: 320
Goodreads

My Dark Vanessa meets The Queen's Gambit in this new novel of suspense about the bonds of family, the limits of talent, the risks of ambition, and the rewards of revenge.
When former piano prodigy Saskia Kreis returns home to Milwaukee after her mother's unexpected death, she expects to inherit the family estate, the Elf House. But with the discovery that her mother's will bequeathed the Elf House to a man that Saskia shares a complicated history with, she is forced to reexamine her own past--and the romantic relationship that changed the course of her life--for answers. Can she find a way to claim her heritage while keeping her secrets buried, or will the fallout from digging too deep destroy her?
Set against a post #MeToo landscape, The Ingenue delves into mother-daughter relationships, the expectations of talent, the stories we tell ourselves, and what happens when the things that once made you special are taken from you. Moving between Saskia's childhood and the present day, this dark, contemporary fairy tale pulses with desire, longing, and uncertainty, as it builds to its spectacular, shocking climax.

Described as My Dark Vanessa meets The Queen’s Gambit, Dale’s sophomore novel follows piano-prodigy Saskia Kreis who returns to her hometown after the death of her mother- expecting to inherit her family estate the Elf House. When she learns that her mother willed it to a man with whom she has a complicated past, Saskia must wrestle with long buried secrets and a relationship that changed her life forever. The publisher is comparing this one to previous Book of the Month picks like We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz and The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins. The Ingenue is a divisive novel that is not for the faint of heart. We hope that Dale gets picked up by either Aardvark or Book of the Month, if only because we think more readers should pick up this December release author.

The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsThe Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Published by Grand Central Publishing on December 6, 2022
Pages: 336
Goodreads

Florida is slipping away. As devastating weather patterns and rising sea levels gradually wreak havoc on the state’s infrastructure, a powerful hurricane approaches a small town on the southeastern coast. Kirby Lowe, an electrical line worker; his pregnant wife, Frida; and their two sons, Flip and Lucas, prepare for the worst. When the boys go missing just before the hurricane hits, Kirby heads out into the high winds to search for them. Left alone, Frida goes into premature labor and gives birth to an unusual child, Wanda, whom she names after the catastrophic storm that ushers her into a society closer to collapse than ever before.
As Florida continues to unravel, Wanda grows. Moving from childhood to adulthood, adapting not only to the changing landscape, but also to the people who stayed behind in a place abandoned by civilization, Wanda loses family, gains community, and ultimately, seeks adventure, love, and purpose in a place remade by nature.
Told in four parts—power, water, light, and time—The Light Pirate mirrors the rhythms of the elements and the sometimes quick, sometimes slow dissolution of the world as we know it. It is a meditation on the changes we would rather not see, the future we would rather not greet, and a call back to the beauty and violence of an untamable wilderness.

We know we included The Light Pirate on last month’s list, but we still think it could be picked up in December. The Light Pirate is a sweeping story of survival and resilience spanning one woman’s lifetime as she navigates a world ravaged by climate change and the shifting landscape that results from it. Insightful and eerily prescient, The Light Pirate tackles difficult themes with flowery writing and dynamic characters. It’s blurbed by Jillian Medoff (When We We’re Bright And Beautiful) who characterizes The Light Pirate as gripping, poetic and original. We’ve been seeing this one on a lot of prediction lists and we think there is a strong possibility of it being a December selection.

Nonfiction/Essay Collections

Your Table Is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maître D’ by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsYour Table Is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maître D' by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina
Published by St. Martin's Press on December 6, 2022
Pages: 304
Goodreads

A front-of-the-house Kitchen Confidential from a career maître d’hotel who manned the front of the room in New York City's hottest and most in-demand restaurants.
From the glamorous to the entitled, from royalty to the financially ruined, everyone who wanted to be seen—or just to gawk—at the hottest restaurants in New York City came to places Michael Cecchi-Azzolina helped run. His phone number was passed around among those who wanted to curry favor, during the decades when restaurants replaced clubs and theater as, well, theater in the most visible, vibrant city in the world.
Besides dropping us back into a vanished time, Your Table Is Ready takes us places we’d never be able to get into on our own: Raoul's in Soho with its louche club vibe; Buzzy O’Keefe’s casually elegant River Café (the only outer-borough establishment desirable enough to be included in this roster), from Keith McNally’s Minetta Tavern to Nolita’s Le Coucou, possibly the most beautiful room in New York City in 2018, with its French Country Auberge-meets-winery look and the most exquisite and enormous stands of flowers, changed every three days.
From his early career serving theater stars like Tennessee Williams and Dustin Hoffman at La Rousse right through to the last pre-pandemic-shutdown full houses at Le Coucou, Cecchi-Azzolina has seen it all. In Your Table Is Ready, he breaks down how restaurants really run (and don’t), and how the economics work for owners and overworked staff alike. The professionals who gravitate to the business are a special, tougher breed, practiced in dealing with the demanding patrons and with each other, in a very distinctive ecosystem that’s somewhere between a George Orwell “down and out in….” dungeon and a sleek showman’s smoke-and-mirrors palace.
Your Table Is Ready is a rollicking, raunchy, revelatory memoir.

We don’t include a lot of nonfiction guesses on our monthly round ups, but we wanted to include your Table Is Ready, if for no other reason than we think it sounds so good. In the past, Book of the Month has featured food related nonfiction like Kitchen Confidential and Taste Makers. In fact, this one is getting compared to previous Book of the Month pick, Kitchen Confidential except Your Table Is Ready deals with “the front of the house.” It’s a memoir from the point of view of a maitre-d’ who worked at a swatch of restaurants from the 1970s to 2020. As juicy as some of the best celebrity tell-alls, Your Table Is Ready will have readers talking into the new year.

Mystery and Thriller

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins (Repeat)

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsThe Villa by Rachel Hawkins
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 3, 2023
Pages: 288
Goodreads

From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set at an Italian villa with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.
As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.
Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.
As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.
Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.
Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle––the birthplace of Frankenstein––The Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.

There are a lot of thrillers from Book of the Month authors coming out in December and January, honestly it was hard to limit ourselves to just three guesses but here we are. Rachel Hawkins, also known as Erin Stirling, has had five different book selected by Book of the Month across her romance novels and thrillers. We loved The Wife Upstairs and enjoyed The Reckless Girls and we cannot wait to read the Villa! It’s being compared to previous Book of the Month titles that also feature locked room mysteries such as The Guest List by Lucey Foley and whdunnits like The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell. Our protagonists, Emily and Chess were close as children but have since grown apart. When Chess suggests a trip to Italy, both women see it as a chance to reconnect. Staying at the Villa Aestas, Emily begins to dig into it’s bloody history. Not only is Hawkins a Book of the Month darling but The Villa is blurbed by Sarah Pener (The Lost Apothecary) and Deanna Raybourn (Killers Of A Certain Age). As long as readers go into this one knowing its a slow burn mystery rather than a page turning thriller, we think it will be a fun pick for readers looking for an escape.

All The Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham (Repeat)

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsAll the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham
Published by Minotaur Books on January 10, 2023
Pages: 336
Goodreads

One year ago, Isabelle Drake's life changed forever: her toddler son, Mason, was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband were asleep in the next room. With little evidence and few leads for the police to chase, the case quickly went cold. However, Isabelle cannot rest until Mason is returned to her—literally.
Except for the occasional catnap or small blackout where she loses track of time, she hasn’t slept in a year.
Isabelle's entire existence now revolves around finding him, but she knows she can’t go on this way forever. In hopes of jarring loose a new witness or buried clue, she agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster—but his interest in Isabelle's past makes her nervous. His incessant questioning paired with her severe insomnia has brought up uncomfortable memories from her own childhood, making Isabelle start to doubt her recollection of the night of Mason’s disappearance, as well as second-guess who she can trust... including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

With the popularity of Willingham’s debut: A Flicker in the Dark as a Book of the Year finalist, we will be shocked if Willingham’s sophomore novel: All The Dangerous Things isn’t a December or January selection. All The Drangerous Things features mother Isabelle Drake, who hasn’t slept since her toddler son Mason was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband slept in the other room. Now all she does is look for him. In the hopes of finding a new lead, she agrees to be interviewed by a true crime podcaster. For those among us who are sensitive readers when it comes to missing children, you might want to skip one. As dark as haunting as her debut, Willingham delivers another atmospheric, fever dream of a thriller that will have you reading late into the night. It is getting stellar reviews.

The Last Invitation by Darby Kane (Repeat)

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsThe Last Invitation by Darby Kane
Published by William Morrow on December 6, 2022
Pages: 416
Goodreads

Darby Kane, the author of the critically acclaimed and #1 International Bestseller Pretty Little Wife, has crafted another gripping and twisty suspense about an invitation to an exclusive club that comes with deadly consequences.
They meet the second Tuesday of every month and vote…and then someone dies.
Over the last few years, prominent people—a retired diplomat, beloved basketball coach, the CEO of an empire—have died in a series of fluke accidents and shocking suicides. There’s no apparent connection, no signs of foul play. Behind it all is a powerful group of women, the Sophie Foundation, who meet over wine and cheese to review files of men who behave very, very badly, and then mete out justice.
Jessa Hall jumped at the mysterious, exclusive invitation to this secret club. The invite comes when she’s at her lowest, aching for a way to take back control. After years of fighting and scratching to get ahead, she’s ready for a chance to make the “bad guys” lose. Jessa soon realizes, though, just how far she’s willing to go and how dangerous this game has become.
Once in the group, it’s impossible to get out. She has nowhere to turn except former friend Gabby Fielding who is investigating the mysterious death of her ex-husband. Aligned in their goal to take down the Foundation, Gabby and Jessa need each other but working together doesn’t mean they trust each other…or that either will survive to tell the truth.

If you love thrillers, you’ve probably heard of Darby Kane. The Last Invitation has a compelling premise similar to that of The Collective by Alyson Gaylin. The Last Invitation is the story of an extended invitation, inviting our protagonist to an exclusive club that has deadly consequence. Because here’s the thing, a series of “accidents” have befallen some socially prominent individuals and its quite possible that this group just might be behind it. With vibes of You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekanan, The Last Invitation is a deliciously suspenseful novels full of plenty of twists and turns. We love the culty vibes of this one and are pretty confident in this guess given the compelling premise and the fact that Kane is a repeat author.

Romance

Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsKiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun
Published by Atria Books on November 1, 2022
Pages: 368
Goodreads

The author of The Charm Offensive returns with a festive romantic comedy about a woman who fakes an engagement with her landlord…only to fall for his sister.
One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Oliver had her dream job in animation and a Christmas Eve meet-cute with a woman at a bookstore that led her to fall in love over the course of a single night. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money.
Finding work at a local coffee shop, she’s just getting through the days—until Andrew, the shop’s landlord, proposes a shocking, drunken plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. They make a plan to spend the holidays together at his family cabin to keep up the ruse. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancée to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s Jack—the mysterious woman she fell for over the course of one magical Christmas Eve the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.
Perfect for fans of Written in the Stars and One Day in December, Kiss Her Once for Me is the queer holiday rom-com that you’ll want to cozy up with next to the fire.

Kiss Her Once For Me would be the perfect romantic read for the holidays, and not just because of it’s holiday adjacent title! Ellie, working her dream job as an animator, has a meet cute with that leads Ellie to fall madly in love over the course of one night. After losing her job- and everything really- she finds work at a local coffee shop. If that isn’t complicated enough, she ends up pretending to get married to the cafe’s landlord for reasons and they getaway to a cabin for the holidays to maintain the ruse. But of course, there she finds Jack- the woman she felt in love with all those Christmases ago. Here on Stuck in the Stacks we adore a good holiday romance and it’s the prefect time of year for it!

Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsA Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy, Sierra Simone
Published by Avon on September 20, 2022
Pages: 418
Goodreads

Cowritten by #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy and USA Today bestselling author Sierra Simone—a steamy plus-size holiday rom-com about an adult film star who is semi-accidentally cast as a lead in a family-friendly Christmas movie, and the former bad-boy pop star she falls in love with.
Bee Hobbes (aka Bianca Von Honey) has a successful career as a plus-size adult film star. With a huge following and two supportive moms, Bee couldn’t ask for more. But when Bee’s favorite producer casts her to star in a Christmas movie he’s making for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career is about to take a more family-friendly direction.
Forced to keep her work as Bianca under wraps, Bee quickly learns this is a task a lot easier said than done. Though it all becomes worthwhile when she discovers her co-star is none other than childhood crush Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. Nolan’s promised his bulldog manager to keep it zipped up on set, and he will if it means he’ll be able to provide a more stable living situation for his sister and mom.
But things heat up quickly in Christmas Notch, Vermont, when Nolan recognizes his new co-star from her ClosedDoors account (oh yeah, he’s a member). Now Bee and Nolan are sneaking off for quickies on set, keeping their new relationship a secret from the Hope Channel’s execs. Things only get trickier when the reporter who torpedoed Nolan’s singing career comes snooping around—and takes an instant interest in mysterious newcomer Bee.
And if Bee and Nolan can’t keep their off-camera romance behind the scenes, then this merry little meet cute might end up on the cutting room floor.

We wanted to be sure and include another holiday romance on our list since December is the perfect time to read them. Even though Merry Little Meet Cute came out in December, this one has been getting so much buzz from readers and we wanted to put it on your radar! This steamy contemporary novel features a plus sized heroine working as an adult film star who gets cast as the lead in a Hallmark-ish Christmas movie. Opposite her is the former bad boy, boy band member that she finds herself attracted to. We love when our romances feature diverse characters or unusual settings. Even though this one came out in September, this festive time of year is the perfect excuse to pick up this title! Blurbed by previous Book of the Month authors Farrah Rochon, Helen Hoang, and Colleen Hoover, Merry Little Meet Cute is sweet, humorous and full of holiday cheer. A perfect read for those who want a little extra holiday cheer this year.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

A Fire Endless by Rebecca Ross (Repeat)

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsA Fire Endless by Rebecca Ross
Published by Harper Voyager on December 6, 2022
Pages: 512
Goodreads

In the stunning conclusion to the Elements of Cadence duology, A Fire Endless finds the delicate balance between the human and faerie realm threatened by Bane, the spirit of the North Wind, whose defeat can only come through fire, song, and heart-rending sacrifice.
East and West. Humans and Spirits. Breccans and Tamerlaines. The Isle of Cadence has always held itself and its residents in a tenuous balance. But now Bane, the spirit of the North Wind, has pushed everyone and everything in his path off-kilter in a bid to claim dominion over all.
In the West, Adaira struggles to adjust to the more brutal, bitter ways of life among the Breccans. Striving to find her place in the clan, she swiftly realizes that it just might be the last role she desires to hold. And while magic blooms effortlessly for the Breccans in the west, the spirits continue to suffer beneath Bane's harsh power, felt in every gust of wind.
In the East, Jack is adrift without Adaira until he sings to the ember-weak fire spirits, acquiring a dangerous mission he never expected. One that is destined to lead him westward. Likewise, Torin and Sidra are consumed by a new mystery as sickness spreads first amongst the crops, and then to the people of the Tamerlaine clan. While Sidra desperately searches for a cure, Torin dares to strike a bargain with the spirits--a precarious folly anytime, but especially now as the days grow darker.
With the island falling further out of balance, humans and spirits alike will need to join together to face Bane, and Jack's gift with the harp will be called upon once more. Yet no one can challenge the North Wind without paying a terrible price, and the sacrifice required this time may be more than Jack, Adaira, Torin, and Sidra can bear to pay.

It is so hard to predict which sequels Book of the Month will pick up and which they’ll choose to pass on. A Fire Endless is the sequel to A River Enchanted- a slow building, romantic, YA fantasy with a quest at center. A Fire Endless simultaneously expands the atmospheric world building and concludes the duology. Many early reviewers are hailing it as even better than its predecessor. In addition to it’s 4.6 rating on Goodreads touting it’s popularity, it’s draw on mythology make it a prime candidate for a Book of the Month selection. We hope that it’s a December pick, if only so that everyone who pines for it can have a matching, branded set.

Young Adult

A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw

What’s In The Box!- December 2022 PredictionsA Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw
on November 29, 2022
Pages: 400
Goodreads

An illness cursing the land forces a teen girl astronomer to venture across the wilderness in search of the stars’ message that will, hopefully, save them all.
If magic lives anywhere, it’s in the stars…
Vega has lived in the valley her whole life—forbidden by her mother to leave the safety of its borders because of the unknown threats waiting for her in the wilds beyond. But after her mother dies, and Vega sees the fabled twin stars in the sky, it’s an omen she can no longer ignore, forcing her to leave the protective boundaries of the valley. But the outside world turns out to be much more terrifying than Vega could have imagined. People are gravely sick—they lose their eyesight and their hearing, just before they lose their lives.
What Vega keeps to herself is that she is the Last Astronomer—a title carried from generation to generation—and she is the only one who carries the knowledge of the stars. Knowledge that could hold the key to the cure. And so when locals spot the tattoo on Vega’s neck in the shape of a constellation—the mark of an astronomer—chaos erupts as the threats her mother warned her about become all too real.
Fearing for her life, Vega is rescued by a girl named Cricket who leads her to Noah, a boy marked by his own mysterious tattoos. On the run from the men who are hunting her, Vega, Cricket, and Noah set out across the plains in search of the cure the stars speak of. But as the lines between friend and protector begin to blur, Vega must decide whether to safeguard the sacred knowledge of the astronomer. Or if she will risk everything to try to save them all.

While we don’t typically get our Shea Earnshaw fix from Book of the Momth because her first printings always have beautiful foil stamps designs under the cover, we still think Book of the Month will pick up Ernshaw’s fourth YA novel.. Our main character is Vega, a seventeen year old girl obsessed with the stars, who sets out on a trip through the wilderness to discover the message hidden in the constellations. But the world is much more chaotic and terrifying than she could have ever imagined and soon she is hunted by those who would wish her harm. Haley is reading this one and really likes it so far! Vega is a compelling protagonist and Ernshaw’s writing is as beautiful as ever. With an end of November release, we think December will be the month that Wilderness of Stars is featured, if they feature it at all.

What About You?

What picks are you hoping to see in December? What do you think of our predictions? Let us know in the comments!

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