December 2022 Book of the Month Selections

This month, Book of the Month chose five main selections and three add-ons.

Main Picks | Add-Ons | Predictions | My Choices

Main Picks

Kiss Her Once for Me

Alison Cochrun

Cozy up with this delightful holiday tale as old as time: boy meets girl, girl meets boy’s sister (who she loves).

Romance

Babel

R.F. Kuang

Knowledge is power in this potent, Oxford-set tale about the magic of translation and the tumult of revolution.

Historical Fantasy | Yearly Look-Back

All the Dangerous Things

Stacy Willingham

Since her son went missing Isabella Drake can’t sleep. After reading this thriller you might not be able to either . . .

Thriller | Early Release | Repeat Author

Book of the Month

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December 2022 BOTM Predictions

December 2022 Most Anticipated New Releases

November 2022 BOTM Predictions

October 2022 BOTM Predictions


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The Circus Train

Amita Parikh

All the world’s a stage in this moving WWII story about a traveling circus and finding your path in dark times.

Historical Fiction | Debut

The Light Pirate

Lily Brooks-Dalton

Life (and hope) find a way to muddle through after the levees break and the waters surge in this meditative novel.

Literary Fiction


Add-Ons

A Quiet Life

Ethan Joella

Consider this life-affirming story about loss and community the cup of hot cocoa you need to make it through winter.

Contemporary Fiction | Repeat Author

A Wilderness of Stars

Shea Ernshaw

An unexpected omen forces a young woman to leave her home and claim her destiny to put the stars back in alignment.

Young Adult | Repeat Author

A Fire Endless

Rebecca Ross

In this epic follow-up to A River Enchanted a contest between the forces of good and evil might tear an island asunder.

Fantasy | Repeat Author


Predictions & Thoughts

There are eight total November BOTM selections for December. They include one debut novel and four novels from repeat authors. This month’s picks include one holiday romance novel and one yearly look-back pick. I am a little surprised by the inclusion of only one look-back and the fact that it was a main selection. While I am not super excited about BOTM’s choices for December, I am not surprised by them either.

I guessed 6 out of 7 correctly, excluding the yearly look-back. The book I did not include in my predictions, The Circus Train, was included in my Most Anticipated December Releases list. If I had known that it was a debut, I would have been more likely to include it with the predictions.

I am very happy that Kiss Her Once for Me is a pick, because Alison Cochrun deserves all the praise and love. It is also exciting to see BOTM pick a sapphic romance. I am not aware of any previous sapphic romance selections. I am also pleased to see that The Light Pirate is a pick this month. As I mentioned in my predictions, The Light Pirate screamed BOTM selection to me despite the fact it is a bit dystopian. It sounds interesting and a bit different than BOTM’s typical selections.

I was positive that BOTM would select All the Dangerous Things. Stacy Willingham’s debut novel, A Flicker in the Dark, was an early release selection last December and was somehow a Book of the Year (BOTY) finalist. I, personally, did not particularly enjoy the book and was bewildered to see it as a BOTY finalist.

I thought it was a safe bet to assume that authors with novels BOTM has previously selected in November and December would again be picked. While BOTM repeating authors is fairly common, December is such a slow publishing month that it makes it even more likely. Consequently, it was not surprising that A Quiet Life and A Fire Endless are add-ons this month. I thought it was a strongly possibility that BOTM would include Shea Ernshaw’s newest young adult book after the popularity of A History of Wild Places, despite the fact that it is a bit atypical for BOTM.

The Circus Train was the one book that I did not include in my predictions. To be honest, I find that historical fiction is the most difficult genre for which to predict BOTM selections. I have not quite gained an understanding of what drives their choices for this genre. This book also sounds like a combination of several previously popular historical fiction books, and thus, not super original. But I appreciate that BOTM selected a historical fiction novel by a BIPOC and debut author.

I am quite surprised that Babel is the yearly look-back pick and that there is only one selection for this category. Babel is already quite popular, even I have a copy despite not being much of a fantasy reader. In addition, BookTok has blown up R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy War series, and I would think it is difficult for BOTM to convince publishers that a super popular book should be a pick. Not to mention the fact that basically every other book box has already had a special edition of Babel. It also seems quite strange to me that a yearly look-back pick is a main selection. Perhaps, BOTM wanted Babel to be eligible for Book of the Year in 2023, or it may have been a publisher stipulation. That being said, I was hoping for more than one yearly look-back pick and really wanted one of them to be nonfiction. I think I am going to have to accept that BOTM has largely abandoned nonfiction and, to a lesser extent, literary fiction selections.

My Choices
Main Selections

I already own Kiss Her Once for Me and Babel, so that automatically rules them out for my picks. To give you an idea of just how excited I am about Kiss Her Once for Me, I received an e-galley of the book and then pre-ordered it despite not having read it yet.

I always try to give author’s a second chance if I read one of their books and did not like it. I did enjoy the writing of A Flicker in the Dark; the plot was what I took issue with. As a result, I did briefly consider All the Dangerous Things. However, it sounds like there will be an unreliable narrator (just like A Flicker in the Dark) which is a trope I greatly dislike. Between this and the fact that I have read reviews for All the Dangerous Things that have said if you liked Willingham’s debut, you will like this book but if you did not, you will not like it. That is proof enough for me that I should pass.

As I mentioned above, The Circus Train sounds like a combination of a few books I have read previously. Consequently, I am hesitant to include it (especially with my epically long historical fiction TBR). This will be a book that I wait on and see if any of my trusted friends have positive reviews for it. So far, it has a 4.06 stars on Goodreads.

I have been looking forward to The Light Pirate, so this was the obvious selection for me. I have not read Station Eleven, which is it compared to, but I know that was wildly popular. And although I am not a huge dystopian reader, it sounds like this is on the lighter side of dystopian and a meditation on life, society, and nature.

Add-Ons

I have not read Ethan Joella’s previous book, A Little Hope, although I eventually bought it on deep discount. His books sound sad, which is currently not my favorite type of read. However, I have seen very positive reviews for both A Little Hope and A Quiet Life by people I trust. I have also been told that while sad, both books are very hopeful. I am going to pass on A Quiet Life until I read A Little Hope and see if I like Joella’s writing and if the sadness is too much.

I will also be passing on A Wilderness of Stars. I did enjoy the one Shea Ernshaw book I have read; however, it was for an adult audience. I am generally not a big fan of young adult novels.

As for A Fire Endless, everyone I know that has read this or its predecessor has loved it. However, I have not read A River Enchanted and am not the biggest fantasy reader. So I will not be getting either of these this month, but they are not out of the question for future picks.

I did decide to still choose two add-ons of previous books. I read an ARC of The Change and loved it. I have decided that I want a physical copy of my own to reread in the future and will be getting it in this month’s box. I also am selecting As Long as the Lemon Tree Grows. As I previously stated, I am not a big YA reader. I was curious about this book because of its subject matter but was hesitant to buy it since it was YA. However, I have seen a ton of reviews praising this book and have been assured that it does not read very YA.

As for my Book of the Year selection, I own all of them already (except for A Flicker in the Dark which I got rid of). I am hoping that BOTM will allow me to pick a non-BOTY finalist in its place. I am also going to be giving away one of the BOTY selections (winner’s choice) over on my bookstagram. So keep an eye out for that!


What books did you choose for your December BOTM selections? Let me know in the comments!

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