On my second month of predicting Book of the Month Selections, I predicted 5 of the 7 books!
In this moving debut novel, two estranged siblings must set aside their differences to deal with their mother’s death and her hidden past—a journey of discovery that takes them from the Caribbean to London to California and ends with her famous black cake.
Love & Other Disasters
The first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favorite cooking show falls for their clumsy competitor in this delicious romantic comedy debut.
Fiona and Jane
Jean Chen Ho
A witty, warm, and irreverent book that traces the lives of two young Taiwanese American women as they navigate friendship, sexuality, identity, and heartbreak over two decades.
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history.
The Magnolia Palace
Previously one of New York City’s most requested artist models, Lillian decides to take a job as a private secretary to the socialite Helen Frick. As Lillian gets caught up in the family’s drama in the 1920s, a present-day English model finds clues to the notorious murder in the former Frick mansion.
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?
Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
Meet Yinka: a thirty-something, Oxford-educated, British Nigerian woman with a well-paid job, good friends, and a mother whose constant refrain is “Yinka, where is your huzband?”
A charmingly eccentric hotel maid discovers a guest murdered in his bed. Solving the mystery will turn her once orderly world upside down. A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.
I predicted four out of five of the main picks! I did not include The Magnolia Palace in my predictions since Fiona Davis is an established author and has not had any previous book selected by Book of the Month. I was surprised that this book was included for these reasons.
I predicted that Reckless Girls would be an add-on rather than a main selection since Rachel Hawkins is a repeat author. In fact, this is the third book in the last year she has written that has been a main BOTM selection (one under the pen name Erin Sterling). To be honest, I am not entirely clear what differentiates a main pick from an add-on as far as selection criteria goes. But it irritates me a bit that Reckless Girls is a main pick while the debut novel The Maid is an add-on. The Maid arguably needs more exposure than Reckless Girls.
I thought I had included Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? in my predictions, but when I took a look back, I must have forgotten it. This book always seemed like a BOTM pick to me.
I am quite happy to see that five of January’s seven BOTM selections are debut novels. This is one of the reasons that I first signed up for BOTM. I love that it offers exposure to new authors and exposes me to books I may not otherwise read.
I was only chose two main selections this month – Black Cake and The Magnolia Palace. I have already read Love & Other Disasters. Black Cake is supposed to be brilliant. A friend of mine read it and loved it, and therefore, it was a no-brainer to choose this book. I read Fiona Davis’s last book, The Lions of Fifth Avenue, and have at least one of her other books on my unread shelf. I enjoy historical fiction and love that her books focus on historical buildings in New York, where I live. I am also excited to dive into The Magnolia Palace and hope that I enjoy it a bit more than The Lions of Fifth Avenue.
Since I was unimpressed with Rachel Hawkin’s last two books – The Wife Upstairs and The Ex Hex – I decided that I would wait to see what some friends think of Reckless Girls before committing to buying it. I have heard from some early readers that it is better than The Wife Upstairs, so that is promising. I am not sure that I realized before that Fiona and Jane was a short story collection. I am not big on short stories, so this is another book I am forgoing for the time being.
I do not remember a time that BOTM only included two add-ons. I am sure that it has happened before, but typically there are four to five from which to choose. In the past six months, there have been a few books that they have released as mid-month add-ons. Presumably, this was required by the publisher so that the book would not be available prior to its publication date. I am wondering if there will be some mid-month add-ons for January as well.
The Maid is one of those books that I have seen on so many people’s most anticipated books for January lists. I enjoy a good mystery or thriller and have high hopes for this book as well. Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? is a fun-sounding book by a debut BIPOC author; I knew I needed this book whether or not it was a BOTM selection.
For the other books in my boxes, I added some backlist books that I have had my eye on.
What books did you choose for your January BOTM selections? Let me know in the comments!