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Book of the Month is a monthly book subscription box. BOTM offers subscribers five selections to choose from each month. You can choose one book for $14.99, add up to two more for $9.99 each, or skip the month altogether if nothing interests you. The BOTM selections are always up-and-coming; before The Power was one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2017, it was offered in BOTM’s October 2017 selections. They also get celebrity judges to select their favorites each month (which we will be sure to note below)!
BOTM sends us all five selections to review for you guys each month; so here’s the scoop on this month’s books!
What you need to know: The Kiss Quotient is not your typical love story; it’s driven by quirky, compelling, diverse, complex characters. This story of an autistic math genius is also Helen Hoang’s debut novel.
Synopsis: Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with and way less experience in the dating department than the average 30 year old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: She needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position …
As Michael and Stella’s no-nonsense partnership takes them out of the bedroom and into a full-time practice relationship, being together starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic …
The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
Genre: Literary Fiction
What you need to know: Troian Bellisario (aka Spencer from Pretty Little Liars) picked this one out of June’s selections. In her words, “It doesn’t matter if you like reality TV or not, The Book of Essieis an explosive, plot-twisting, gut-punch of a novel that will keep you turning the pages and never wanting to change the channel.” The Book of Essie is also Weir’s debut novel.
Synopsis: Esther Ann Hicks—Essie—is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage—and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media—through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell—Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?
Calypso by David Sedaris
What you need to know: Sedaris makes light of the topic of aging in his new collection of essays. And according to BOTM, it’s a light read.
Synopsis: If you’ve ever laughed your way through David Sedaris’s cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you’re getting with Calypso. You’d be wrong. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: It’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself.
With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: These stories are very, very funny—it’s a book that can make you laugh till you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris’s writing has never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.
This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris’s darkest and warmest book yet—and it just might be his very best.
The Anomaly by Michael Rutger
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
What you need to know: According to BOTM’s Editorial Director, The Anomaly “takes the cake” for the thrillers they’ve offered so far in 2018. Plus, it’s a fast read (and sounds like it has real movie potential).
Synopsis: If Indiana Jones lived in the era, he might bear at least a passing resemblance to Nolan Moore—a rogue archaeologist hosting a documentary series derisively dismissed by the “real” experts, but beloved of conspiracy theorists.
Nolan sets out to retrace the steps of an explorer from 1909 who claimed to have discovered a mysterious cavern high up in the ancient rock of the Grand Canyon. And, for once, he may have actually found what he seeks. Then the trip takes a nasty turn, and the cave begins turning against them in mysterious ways.
Nolan’s story becomes one of survival against seemingly impossible odds. The only way out is to answer a series of intriguing questions: What is this strange cave? How has it remained hidden for so long? And what secret does it conceal that made its last visitors attempt to seal it forever?
When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri
What you need to know: BOTM says it’s “the best lesbian romance you’ll read this year.” Plus, it’s a light read and features multiple viewpoints.
Synopsis: Katie Daniels, a 28-year-old Kentucky transplant with a strong set of traditional values, has just been dumped by her fiancé when she finds herself seated across a negotiating table from native New Yorker Cassidy Price, a sexy, self-assured woman wearing a man’s suit. At first neither of them knows what to make of the other, but soon their undeniable connection will bring into question everything each of them thought they knew about sex and love.
When Katie Met Cassidy is a romantic comedy about gender and sexuality, and the importance of figuring out who we are in order to go after what we truly want. It’s also a portrait of a high-drama subculture where barrooms may as well be bedrooms, and loyal friends fill in the spaces absent families leave behind. Katie’s glimpse into this wild yet fiercely tight-knit community begins to alter not only how she sees the larger world, but also where exactly she fits in.
Our June BOTM Pick: The Kiss Quotient
It was actually really hard to choose just one book this month—typically, one of our biggest complaints is that BOTM includes way too many murder mysteries and thrillers and not enough romance. But this month they had not one romance, but two—so we were a bit torn. But if we *had* to choose, we’d go with The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. Not only is it a quirky romance, but it’s also neuro-diverse. Bonus: It’s about a woman who loves math. Score one for women in STEM!