Highlights: October 2021

Fall is in full swing and we have entered October, the month that brings us all things creepy, crawly, and spooky! That means that it’s time for Kate’s annual Horrorpalooza review series, as well as all the horror movies, and it’s time for Serena to find all things cozy and autumn-esque! We also have a list of books that we are looking forward to this month as the days get shorter and pumpkin themed everything permeates our lives.

Serena’s Picks

Book: “Animorphs Graphix #2: The Visitor”

Publication Date: October 5, 2021

Why I’m Interested: I’m tickled pink that a cult YA series from the 90s is seeing a re-birth here in the 2020s. What a weird thing, to have read all of these books as a kid and now to be re-reading them as graphic novels when I have kids myself! I very much enjoyed the first book that came out about a year ago. I had a few quibbles about some of the artistic choices, but overall, I was surprised by how much fun I had reading that. With that firmly in mind, while I still don’t love the artwork (most notable in this cover), I’m really excited to dive into this second book and see how the events here are depicted in this format.

Book: “Blood of the Chosen” by Django Wexler

Publication Date: October 5, 2021

Why I’m Interested: I really enjoyed the first book in this series when I read it last summer. Wexler writes excellent fantasy (science fiction??) worlds and he fills them will well-formed, exciting characters. In this series, we follow a pair of siblings who were separated at a young age and find themselves on opposing sides of a brewing conflict that appears to have no winners. The stakes were high in the first book. So high, that I wonder where they will go from there. But Wexler has proven more than capable of handing escalating forces in past series of his that I’ve enjoyed, so I’m sure he’ll manage it here! I found myself preferring Maya’s story in the first book, and generally coming down on her side of the moral dilemma, so I’m curious to see if that will remain true here.

Book: “Vespertine” by Margaret Rogerson

Publication Date: October 5, 2021

Why I’m Interested: Margaret Rogerson is one of those authors I Goodreads stalk. In that, I’ve been checking her profile for updates of a new book almost since the day I read the last page of her latest book. It’s been a long wait, too, but “Vespertine” is finally here! Yet another cover that I think is fantastic, so she’s three-for-three there. The description focusing on a fighting nun sounds pretty awesome as well. I’m a bit bummed that there doesn’t seem to be any romance in this book, as that was one of the things I liked best about her first two books. But it’s also the first in a duology (I think it’s only two??), which is also a first from her as the previous two were stand-alones. So maybe there will be romance there? Or, of course, there are perfectly good books that don’t have romantic subplots. Just my preference that they do. Super excited to get to this one, as I’ve been patiently waiting for soooo long to crack it open.

Kate’s Picks

Book: “Cackle” by Rachel Harrison

Publication Date: October 5, 2021

Why I’m Interested: I really loved Rachel Harrison’s debut novel “The Return”, so of course I would be interested in reading her next book. Especially since this one has to do with witches! Annie has always been the type to go along to get along, so when she finds herself recently dumped by her long term boyfriend and in a whole new town, she is anxious, lonely, and a little bit lost. But the she meets Sophie, a beautiful and incredibly charismatic woman who is more than happy to take Annie under her wing. Sophie is gregarious and charming, but everyone else in town seems to be a little scared of her. Could it be that Annie’s new friend is a witch? And what does that mean for Annie? Witches are great, but so are complex female friendship plot points, so this one sounds doubly interesting!

Book: “Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw

Publication Date: October 19, 2021

Why I’m Interested: Given that Japanese horror tales are some of the stories that scare me the most (I left “The Ring” as a fully traumatized teenager), when I saw that a new novella with such a theme was coming out I knew I needed to read it. And not only is the cover absolutely horrifying, “Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw is a novella, the perfect length for a late autumn night. Cat and her friends have all come together for a wedding at a Heian-Era mansion in rural Japan. They’ve all been known to be thrill seekers, and a wedding in a haunted house sounds fun. Until Cat starts seeing things. And the story of a long dead, spurned bride starts to unfold right before her eyes. Ghosts and wedding weekends don’t tend to mix well. Throw in some yokai to boot and you have a blood curdling tale of terror!

Book: “Where They Wait” by Scott Carson

Publication Date: October 26, 2021

Why I’m Interested: I’m a super anxious person, and the past two years (between new parenthood and pandemic) has been very stressful at times. I have been trying to meditate more and look into mindfulness programs, but when I read the description for Scott Carson’s “Where They Wait” I was like ‘oh GREAT, let’s make THAT scary, huh?’ But I have to admit, it does sound intriguing. After he’s let go from his prestigious newspaper job, Nick is hired to do a write up of a new mindfulness app called Clarity. It seems like the usual program, but as he starts to look into it more, some things seem off. What kind of mindfulness app has a meditation segment with a creepy song that lulls people into a freaked out state before a good night’s sleep? Nick starts to look into this more, and realizes that he has a dark connection to Clarity and the song. I haven’t read anything by Carson yet, and this one sounds like it’s going to be a truly trippy story.

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

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