It’s a new month, which means little blue boxes all over the United States are heading to impatient bookworms! Luckily, mine arrived on Monday and I am so excited about the books I got.


January’s Main Book of the Month Picks

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. JamesThe Sun Down Motel | Simone St. James | Thriller

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the …

 

Topics of Conversation | Miranda Popkey | Literary Fiction

“Miranda Popkey’s first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt—written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism. The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women—the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage—and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.”

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When We Were Vikings | Andrew David MacDonald | Contemporary Fiction

“Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains.

For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:

1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”

2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.

3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home.

4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet.

5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.

But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength”

Things in Jars by Jess KiddThings in Jars |Jess Kidd | Historical Fantasy

“Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.”

Tightrope by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Tightrope | Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn | Non-fiction

“With stark poignancy and political dispassion, Tightrope draws us deep into an “other America.” The authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the children with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon, an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared. About one-quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. And while these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. But here too are stories about resurgence, among them: Annette Dove, who has devoted her life to helping the teenagers of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as they navigate the chaotic reality of growing up poor; Daniel McDowell, of Baltimore, whose tale of opioid addiction and recovery suggests that there are viable ways to solve our nation’s drug epidemic. These accounts, illustrated with searing images by Lynsey Addario, the award-winning photographer, provide a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore. “


 


My Picks

IMG_8639I am probably the most predictable person in the world but surprise surprise I added the Thriller option to my box immediately. I’ve heard some really great things about The Sun Down Motel, I love thrillers, and it’s an early release. Obviously, I picked it.

I skipped on the non-fiction pick, Tightrope and on the literacy fiction pick Topics of Conversation. I’m not really in the mood for a factual depiction of the US at the moment and Topics of Conversation is more about ideas vs. having a plot. I hate reading non-lot fiction books.

I could not decide between Things in  Jar and When We Were Vikings, so I got both. Shocking, I know. Things in a Jar is probably more up my ‘Allie’ given that it is a mystery. I’m hoping that When We Were Vikings is a good read, since it’s less Vikings more coming of age. I have not heard much chatter about either of these books but here’s to hoping for some five star reads!


Add-On’s

In addition to my January picks, I added on two additional books. Woven in Moonlight is a YA Book of the Month pick. An epic fantasy with a lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, inspired by Bolivian politics and history. I read the first few chapters a few months ago and I knew I needed to continue reading. I’m very excited for this book.

The second book is a historical fiction and is an account of a a Viet Cong spy, who escapes Saigon for a complicated double life in the United States.

Woven in Moonlight | Siabel Ibanez | YACover Image for Woven in Moonlight

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge―and her Condesa.”

The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen | Historical Fiction23168277

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

 


WHAT IS BOOK OF THE MONTH?

For those who haven’t heard of Book of the Month club or BOTM, it is a subscription program, similar to audible or other box subscription services, where you get (you guessed it) a new book every month. Each month members are given 5 different books to choose from.  BOTM generally focusing on debut and emerging writers, and is known for having helped launch the careers of some of the most acclaimed authors in American literary history. In an attempt to read more books outside my favorite genres without having to siphon through all the duds, I decided to sign up for the monthly subscriptions. It costs me $14.99 per month, I choose 1 of the 5 books on the first of every month,  and it’s delivered straight to my door. You can skip any month or roll your credits over to the next month, at any time. Since I started getting BOTM in 2018, I’ve really enjoyed some of the new authors I’ve been exposed to. If you’re interested in joining BOTM, I’ve added my referral code to the bottom of this post, which if you use, you’ll be able to get your first month (book) free!


Interested in joining Book of the Month? Get a free book when you join using my referral link. https://www.mybotm.com/jqu8msx17g

 

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