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20 Books You Should Add to Your October 2019 TBR!

by  | October 3

Not everyone appreciates the shorter days and cooler nights of autumn quite like a booklover. Where some see fewer opportunities, we see more—more excuses to stay in and read, that is! And because of highly anticipated new releases from Jenna Dewan, Felicia Day, Jojo Moyes, Christina Lauren, and more, October is shaping up to be a booklover’s dream. Check out the 20 books we’re most excited for this month, from powerful memoirs and hair-raising horror novels to delightful rom-coms and thrilling mysteries.

How We Fight for Our Lives

How We Fight for Our Lives

by Saeed Jones

Erin’s Pick:

Saeed Jones tells his story of growing up black and gay in the South while fighting to carve out a place for himself in the world. He takes us through his coming of age in the 1990s and 2000s, creating a narrative that is both heart-wrenching and completely relevant to our present-day social issues, from racism to LGBT rights. I rooted for Saeed to succeed. I cried when he explained that as a gay, black teenager he assumed he would die young. I couldn’t stop reading this memoir, and now that I’ve finished it, I want to make sure as many people read this book as possible, because it is not only stunning, powerful, and haunting: it’s an essential addition to our country’s narrative.

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Fishnet

Fishnet

by Kirstin Innes

Heather’s Pick #1:

Look, I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. A lot, a lot. And something you learn pretty quickly is how little attention the world pays when a sex worker disappears or is found dead. It’s heartbreaking, it’s infuriating, and it’s unjust. Shining a light on this issue is Kirstin Innes’s debut novel, Fishnet. Six years after 20-year-old Rona Leonard vanished without a trace, her sister, Fiona, finally gets a new lead: Rona was making a living as a sex worker at the time she went missing. Fiona’s search for her sister takes her to places she never thought she’d go and opens her eyes to an industry more complex than she ever imagined. One reviewer has already noted the book’s potential to change public attitudes, so I’m very much looking forward to this read.

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The Winter Sister

The Winter Sister

by Megan Collins

Heather’s Pick #2:

I tore through my copy of The Winter Sister (which is out this month in paperback) while on a vacation with my family, and let me tell you, it was unsettling. I could not fathom losing my sister the way that Sylvie loses her older sibling, Persephone. And I could not imagine how soul-destroying it would be to feel responsible for her murder. Yet I also could not imagine setting this haunting, atmospheric book down, because Megan Collins draws you completely into Sylvie’s fractured world as she tries to uncover the truth about who killed Persephone once and for all. The twists and turns will shock you even as the mother-daughter story at the center grabs your heart and doesn’t let go.

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Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Typhoon

Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Typhoon

by Wesley Chu

LJ’s Pick:

The world of Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead is expanding with Typhoon, an international spinoff of the hit TV and comic series. In China, three protagonists find themselves caught in a typhoon as it roils the most populous country in Asia, and the trio become among the survivors known as walkers (jiangshi).

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The Twisted Ones

The Twisted Ones

by T. Kingfisher

Maddie’s Pick:

Oh, boy! It’s about to get spooky. If anyone knows anything about me, it should be no surprise that my most anticipated read for October is this gem of a folk horror book. Loosely based on the classic horror story The White People, this is a refreshing and creepy combination of folklore and Southern gothic literature. The Twisted Ones follows Mouse, along with her lovable dog, Bongo, as she ventures to rural North Carolina to clean out her deceased pack-rat grandmother’s home. While there, Mouse stumbles upon her step-grandfather’s journal, which seems to be filled with the ramblings of a madman. That is, until Mouse actually starts to see some of the things her grandfather described. This is a page-turning mystery of madness and folklore sure to engross you from start to end.

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This Will Only Hurt a Little

This Will Only Hurt a Little

by Busy Philipps

Molly’s Pick #1:

YOU GUYS. You’re all familiar with Busy’s impressive TV and movie career (hello, she was on Freaks and Geeks, Dawson’s Creek, AND the criminally underrated Cougar Town), and I’m sure you *think* you know her from her entertaining and expository Instagram stories (they’re the best). But there’s more to Busy than her obvious comic talent and ability to make everyone wish she was their best friend. In the New York Times bestselling autobiography This Will Only Hurt a Little, Busy shares stories from her childhood through her career (and career pivots) in Hollywood, showing strength by way of her vulnerability and a tenacity we should all aspire to in our personal and professional lives. I devoured this book the first time I read it in hardcover, and I can’t wait to experience it again, this time in paperback.

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Royal Holiday

Royal Holiday

by Jasmine Guillory

Molly’s Pick #2:

I’ve been an evangelist for Jasmine Guillory ever since The Wedding Date, the first in a series of companion novels, published last year. Roxane Gay described it as a “charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel”—a blurb so apt that I’ve frequently repeated it while shoving the book in various friends’ hands and one that extends to the other three books in the series, including the upcoming Royal Holiday. Royal Holiday focuses on Vivian Forest as she accompanies her daughter Maddie (the protagonist of The Wedding Party) to London over the holidays and starts an unexpected romance with Malcolm, the private secretary to the Queen. It features all the qualities I admire so much in Guillory’s books: smart and ambitious women, clever yet realistic dialogue, swoon-worthy romances, and an overall tone of fun but not frivolity. Plus, Christmas in London! What’s more charming than that?

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Embrace Your Weird

Embrace Your Weird

by Felicia Day

Nicole’s Pick #1:

You’d be hard-pressed to find a self-identified geek who hasn’t heard of Felicia Day. From starring on Buffy, Eureka, and The Magicians to voicing some of the most iconic video game characters to diving deep into the world of Dungeons & Dragons, Felicia has been a mainstay in geek culture. She’s incredibly vocal about how proud she is to be a female geek in an industry that is so heavily saturated by men, and that is a message that has resonated with her countless fans. In her first book, the memoir You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), she detailed her upbringing and how she rose to Internet stardom, and began the conversation around embracing her weird. Now, she’s back with a book that focuses on just that! Embrace Your Weird takes readers on a journey to find and ignite their creative passions, no matter how “weird” they are. I’m so excited to read Felicia’s newest words of wisdom and to get in touch with the beauty of what makes us all weird.

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The Monsters Know What They're Doing

The Monsters Know What They're Doing

by Keith Ammann

Nicole’s Pick #2:

I am not ashamed to say that I, Nicole Sam, am fully and completely obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons. For me, it started when a friend convinced me to watch a web series called Critical Role, where “a bunch of nerdy ass voice actors get together and play Dungeons & Dragons.” Within the first few hours of watching, I was hooked on the storytelling, the gameplay, and the creatures that inhabit this world. At the heart of the game is the Dungeon Master (DM). The DM crafts the story of their game, embodies the non-playable characters that his players encounter, and is ultimately responsible for the success of their campaign. The Monsters Know What They’re Doing, based on a blog of the same name, helps to lighten some of the DM’s burden by helping the gameplayer to better understand their monsters’ abilities. A great DM will be able to anticipate their players’ decisions and actions, but even the most experienced DMs can get stumped by crafty players. This book is essential reading for anyone who is—or wants to be—a Dungeon Master.

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White Elephant

White Elephant

by Trish Harnetiaux

Sienna’s Pick #1:

I’ve been known to get pretty, let’s just say, aggressive, when I’m at a holiday party and there’s a White Elephant exchange. You know, that party game where people bring a wrapped gift that goes in a pile, and you get to pick a gift at random based on a number that you’ve drawn? The best part is that people can steal your gift if they like it better than the one they originally picked. I might have almost gotten into an altercation over a lava lamp at a party not so long ago. White Elephant is a Christmas mystery about an office party gone wrong. A real estate agency owned by Henry Calhoun and his wife, Claudine, host an over-the-top White Elephant exchange at their holiday party in Aspen, Colorado, each year. Instead of exchanging tacky gifts, all the real estate agents compete to see who can provide the most expensive and exotic gifts. This year, stakes are at an all–time high because the hottest pop star, Zara, is a last-minute invite, and Claudine is obsessed with selling her a fabulous house and wants to impress her with the best party ever. The Christmas party takes a dark turn when an antique cowboy is unwrapped during the gift exchange. Unbeknownst to most of the party guests, the cowboy was used as a weapon during a murder that Henry committed years ago, which Claudine helped cover up. Who planted the cowboy? Who knows about the murder? And how can Henry and Claudine figure out who is behind this party foul while everyone is trapped inside during an epic blizzard.

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The Library Book

The Library Book

by Susan Orlean

Sienna’s Pick #2:

If you’re a voracious reader like me, some of your earliest reading memories probably involve lugging a bag of books home from the library. The library is almost a house of worship for bookish people. If you have a place in your heart for libraries as much as I do, then Susan Orlean’s The Library Book should be on your bookshelf. The Library Book tells the story of the mysterious fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Central Library back in 1986. Not only is this book a whodunit, but it also covers the history of the American library and how it’s evolved over time. Do you ever wonder how people used to find the answers to random facts before the Internet? Apparently, you used to be able to CALL the Los Angeles Central Library’s help line and a librarian would find the answer for you!

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Right After the Weather

Right After the Weather

by Carol Anshaw

Sienna’s Pick #3:

Cate is in her early 40s and feeling stuck. She’s a talented set designer in the Chicago theater world, but she isn’t making much money, and her career has stalled. Her parents are still helping her pay the bills and her ex-husband (they are still friends) has moved in with her after another failed marriage. Cate is trying to work on herself, including getting out of debt and committing to a healthy partnership with her girlfriend, but she keeps getting drawn back to a toxic relationship with an old love. Her most stable influence in her life is her yoga instructor friend, Neale, a single mom who is raising her son in a rough neighborhood in Chicago. When Cate walks in on Neale getting attacked by a drug addict during a home invasion, her violent impulse to save her friend upends her life dramatically—and changes how her friends and family perceive her (and how she views herself).

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The Grace Year

The Grace Year

by Kim Liggett

Saimah’s Pick #1:

When I heard that Christina Lauren had a new book coming this fall, I had to get my hands on it! This writing duo has published over 20 novels together to date, and they are on a roll. Earlier this year, their rom-com The Unhoneymooners was at the top of many summer reading lists and had me laughing out loud. Twice in a Blue Moon is less rom-com and more heartfelt story of young love and second-chance romance. During a whirlwind two-week vacation to London, Sam and Tate fall head over heels for each other. Tate reveals her biggest secret to Sam, and he betrays her. Fourteen years later, they meet again…. Tate is now an up-and-coming actress, who has landed the role of a lifetime. The last person she expects to see on set is Sam. As the days pass and they are forced to spend more time together, secrets are revealed and truths are uncovered. Can Tate find it in her heart to forgive Sam and trust him again? You’ll have to pick up the book to find out!

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Twice in a Blue Moon

Twice in a Blue Moon

by Christina Lauren

Saimah’s Pick #2:

If you’re a fan of speculative fiction, you won’t want to miss Kim Liggett’s The Grace Year. I got an advanced copy of this novel at BookExpo earlier this year and could not stop turning the pages! At the age of sixteen, young women are banished, sent to live on a remote island to release their “magic” into the wild, so they can return purified and able to marry and bear children. The magic is said to be a powerful aphrodisiac that makes men crazed with lust and women consumed with jealousy.

While on the island, the girls are forced to fight for their lives—banding together for protection against the elements and the poachers who are said to kill girls and sell their body parts on the black market. But the real threat may be within their own ranks…. This book has already been optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks, so make sure to read the story before it hits the screen!

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Gracefully You

Gracefully You

by Jenna Dewan

Saimah’s Pick #3: 

The first time I saw Jenna Dewan on screen was in her breakout role in Step Up. After that movie, she landed a whole bunch of other TV performances from Supergirl to The Resident, and my personal favorite...Lip Sync Battle. I loved following her on social to find out what she was up to behind the scenes of her many projects, so when I heard she was writing a book I knew I had to get my hands on it. Gracefully You will be a lifestyle book mixed with personal stories of how Jenna’s raising her adorable little girl, Everly—who will soon be a big sister to Jenna’s baby with her new boyfriend, Steve Kazee.

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The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars

by Jojo Moyes

Taylor’s Pick: 

Fans of Me Before You will be delighted to hear that Jojo Moyes has a new novel coming out this fall. Set in the 1930s, about a little-known group of women who bring the love of reading and education to those who've never had it, it's the book we book lovers have all been waiting for. Plus, it’s based on the true story of the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. What more could we ask for?!

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Mrs. Fletcher (Media Tie-In)

Mrs. Fletcher (Media Tie-In)

by Tom Perrotta

Cara’s Pick: 

Of all the TV coming this fall, I may be most excited for Mrs. Fletcher to finally drop on HBO. Kathryn Hahn will star in an adaptation of this smart, sexy, awkward book from Tom Perrotta, about a woman exploring her sexual identity after her son goes off to college.

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Ninth House

Ninth House

by Leigh Bardugo

Sara’s Pick #1:

Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory, even if you know it's totally fake? Well, you might not be such a fan if you were basically thrown right into the middle of one. After surviving a horrific multiple homicide, Alex Stern is offered what might seem like a dream come true—a free ride to Yale. But Alex is smart enough to know nothing comes for free, and she's right—she's been tasked to follow the secret societies of the university and see what they're up to. Blending reality and occult fantasy, Ninth House is the kind of gritty, darkly magical story that ensnares our imaginations around Halloween. A must-read for anyone looking to delve into their spooky side this October or to get into a new series.

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The Library of the Unwritten

The Library of the Unwritten

by A. J. Hackwith

Sara’s Pick #2: 

We often think of libraries as warm, happy places where great books are stored and everyone is welcome. A library in hell though, probably a little different. Claire works there, as Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing, where she keeps an eye on unfinished books. Why? ’Cause they have a tendency to spit out characters who try to escape hell. Claire is on the hunt for one such character when she gets in a tussle with an angel, and the situation escalates to world-ending proportions. If you loved the ideas and sweeping world building in Good Omens, this book is going to be up your alley.

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The Falconer

The Falconer

by Dana Czapnik

Will’s Pick:

This debut novel, now out in paperback, truly sparkles. It evokes 90s New York City with palpable nostalgia, and, in Lucy, Czapnik has created the adolescent feminist protagonist we need. I loved every page of this novel. This book is not a rebuttal to The Catcher in the Rye, but a natural evolution of the novels that represent society. In it, the author has captured coming of age better than anything I’ve read in recent memory.

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