Book of the Month- January 2018

Wow this took such a long time to get here (at least it feels that way)! This month was a weird one for me. Initially, I actually thought about skipping this month because I didn’t recognize any of the titles. However, after looking further into the selection I ended up adding TWO of the choices to my box. The box finally made it to my door, and now I am extremely excited to get to them (though I am a little sad because they sit behind an ever growing pile already on my desk).

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Red Clocks By Leni Zumas

Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or “mender,” who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.

(via Goodreads)

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This sounds fierce. At first I had a hard time deciding which book to choose. The last few months, BOTM has featured books that I was already aware of, making my choices easy. This month however provided me with five unknown choices that had me a little discouraged. But after reading the description to this one, I am PUMPED to work this into my TBR. So topical, and so close to being a reality that this will feel just as delicious as most people felt rereading 1984 in the wake of a Trump presidency. I look forward to some strong female perspectives.

 

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters—Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa—a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without—and what they are willing to do about it.

(via Goodreads)

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I don’t know guys, I am a sucker for a war story I guess. The whole family dynamic in the midst of a war, it just sounded like something I might enjoy. Throw in an epic illness sweeping the area, well, now it sounds like I can’t quite leave it behind. And can we just admire the cover for a moment? It is even more beautiful in person, but my goodness, SO PRETTY!

This book was actually offered as an exclusive through Book of the Month, which made it even more desirable. It is not due to be published until February of this year, so to have my hands on it a bit early is always thrilling. I doubt I will get to it before it comes out to the general public, but I am looking forward to reading it in the near future.

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So what do you guys think? Do any of these sound like books you’d be interested in reading this year? Have you read any of them? Let’s chat in the comments!

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Calendar Girls (#1 January 2018): Non North American Setting

Good afternoon, and Happy New Year! How lovely to start off the new year than with a Calendar Girls post? Ironically enough, in the shuffle of writing and scheduling posts from Christmas through the New Year, I forgot that January 1st fell on a Monday, meaning CALENDAR GIRLS! And so here we are. If you are unfamiliar with Calendar Girls events every month, check out their info page here. Thanks to Melanie and Flavia for putting this event together and engaging everyone in their monthly themes.

For those who don’t know, this month’s theme is Non-North American Setting. Interestingly enough, I have discovered that I have not read many non-North American setting books. I mean the obvious comes to mind (Harry Potter) but I can only post so much about the same book (series) before people start writing me off. But that would never happen because everyone loves Harry Potter. With that in mind though, it will definitely be a goal of mine to read more books that take place outside North America this year.

For my choice this month, I picked a book that I really really enjoyed in 2017.

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Based on “the forgotten tragedy that was six times deadlier than the Titanic.”–Time

Winter 1945. WWII. Four refugees. Four stories.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies, war. As thousands desperately flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. But not all promises can be kept…

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

(via Goodreads)

 

Let me just start off by saying that I really enjoy a good historical fiction, but especially, I love historical fiction written for children/teens. I feel like it is so much more vivid and I get lost much easier than I do in adult historical fiction. I read several war era books last year, but this one certainly stood out to me.

It was gruesome and brutally honest. The author did not hold anything back. No character was safe, and that was just the product of war, that was the lesson the author tried to give. While war might be interesting to learn about in history books (or make for a great backdrop to a story), it is/was hard to live through while it is happening. Anyone can fall victim to war, or illness, it is just a harsh reality.

This book was written so well, with lovable characters that you root for throughout the entire story. I highly recommend it to anyone really, but especially to people who enjoy historical fiction.

 

What an interesting way to start off 2018! I look forward to seeing everyone’s choices this month, and to chatting about them! Can’t wait to see what next month’s theme!

 

Update: Calendar Girls seems to be on a hiatus until further notice, according to event creator Melanie. She posted about it in her 2018 Plans & Goals. There has been no word about Calendar Girls from co-creator Flavia yet, though she has posted a few reviews so far this year.