Sarah's 11 Most Anticipated October Releases

Sarah's 11 Most Anticipated October Releases

We're fast approaching my favorite month of the year and with it comes the greatest number of anticipated new releases yet! This month I've got 11 books that I have my eye on that I can't wait to share with you! Maybe you'll find something to add to your TBR, too.

1. Our Missing Hearts Celeste Ng (Oct. 4)

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard University’s library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.

Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.

Why I'm Excited: So it might be a crime that I haven't read Little Fires Everywhere yet (it's on my shelf I promise!). This contemporary dystopia sounds like it's going to gut punch me and make me cry and I haven't had a book accomplish that in a while.

2. The Night Ship Jess Kidd (Oct. 4)

Synopsis: 1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.

1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…​

Why I'm Excited: This might be my most anticipated read this month. Dark magical realism? Based on a real life event? Glowing advanced reviews? I love going into books knowing nothing more than the Goodreads synopsis but I already know this one is going to stick with me.

3. The Mountain in the Sea - Ray Nayler (Oct. 4)

Synopsis: Rumors begin to spread of a species of hyperintelligent, dangerous octopus that may have developed its own language and culture. Marine biologist Dr. Ha Nguyen, who has spent her life researching cephalopod intelligence, will do anything for the chance to study them.

The transnational tech corporation DIANIMA has sealed the remote Con Dao Archipelago, where the octopuses were discovered, off from the world. Dr. Nguyen joins DIANIMA’s team on the islands: a battle-scarred security agent and the world’s first android.

The octopuses hold the key to unprecedented breakthroughs in extrahuman intelligence. The stakes are high: there are vast fortunes to be made by whoever can take advantage of the octopuses’ advancements, and as Dr. Nguyen struggles to communicate with the newly discovered species, forces larger than DIANIMA close in to seize the octopuses for themselves.

But no one has yet asked the octopuses what they think. And what they might do about it.

Why I'm Excited: I don't know why I need to explain this one besides science-fiction thriller about octopuses, but I am really looking forward to the exploration of morals and ethics when it comes to exploiting high-intelligence animals. Bonus: I will now have two octopus-related novels on my shelf (this and Remarkably Bright Creatures).

4. It Rides a Pale Horse - Andy Marino (Oct. 4)

Synopsis: The Larkin siblings are known around the small town of Wofford Falls. Both are artists, but Peter Larkin, Lark to his friends, is the hometown hero. The one who went to the big city and got famous, then came back and settled down. He’s the kind of guy who becomes fast friends with almost anyone. His sister Betsy on the other hand is more… eccentric. She keeps to herself. 
 
When Lark goes to deliver one of his latest pieces to a fabulously rich buyer, it seems like a regular transaction. Even being met at the gate of the sprawling, secluded estate by an intimidating security guard seems normal. Until the guard plays him a live feed: Betsy being abducted in real time. 
 
Lark is informed that she’s safe for now, but her well‑being is entirely in his hands. He's given a book. Do what the book says, and Betsy will go free.
 
It seems simple enough. But as Lark begins to read he realizes: the book might be demonic. Its writer may be unhinged. His sister's captors are almost certainly not what they seem. And his town and those within it are... changing. And the only way out is through.

Why I'm Excited: This is probably my most indie and lesser-known anticipated read this month so I'm not entirely sure what to expect. I'm always on the hunt for up-and-coming horror authors, so I'm hoping this one is a hit. The synopsis is weird and intriguing and, yeah, I'm judging this one by its cover, okay? The cover slaps.

5. The Revivalists - Christopher M. Hood (Oct. 4)

Synopsis: Bill and Penelope are the lucky ones. Not only do they survive the Shark Flu emerging from the melting Icelandic permafrost to sweep like a scythe across the world, but they begin to rebuild a life in the wreckage of the old. A garden to feed themselves planted where the lawn used to be, a mattress pulled down to the living room fireplace for warmth. Even Bill's psychology practice endures the collapse of the social order, the handful of remaining clients bartering cans of food for their sessions. But when their daughter's voice over the radio in the kitchen announces that she's joined a cult three thousand miles away in Bishop, California, they leave it all behind to embark on a perilous trek across the hollowed-out remains of America to save her.

Their journey is an unforgettable odyssey through communities scattered across the continent, but for all the ways that the world has changed, the hopes and fears of this little family remain the same as they always have been. In The Revivalists, Christopher M. Hood creates a haunting, moving, darkly funny, and ultimately hopeful portrait of a world and a marriage tested by extraordinary circumstances.

Why I'm Excited: Cults! Icelandic permafrost-based pandemic! Dystopian apocalyptic science fiction! I am ready. This one also hints in the synopsis at having a dark humor aspect to it and commenting on the trials of our protagonists' marriage, which are interesting elements that I'm excited to see play out.

6. Hester - Laurie Lico Albanese (Oct. 4)

Synopsis: Isobel Gamble is a young seamstress carrying generations of secrets when she sets sail from Scotland in the early 1800s with her husband, Edward. An apothecary who has fallen under the spell of opium, his pile of debts have forced them to flee Edinburgh for a fresh start in the New World. But only days after they've arrived in Salem, Edward abruptly joins a departing ship as a medic––leaving Isobel penniless and alone in a strange country, forced to make her way by any means possible.

When she meets a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, the two are instantly drawn to each other: he is a man haunted by his ancestors, who sent innocent women to the gallows––while she is an unusually gifted needleworker, troubled by her own strange talents. As the weeks pass and Edward's safe return grows increasingly unlikely, Nathaniel and Isobel grow closer and closer. Together, they are a muse and a dark storyteller; the enchanter and the enchanted. But which is which?

Why I'm Excited: This is one of two novels this month based on classic literature and I've never read anything of the sort before. I haven't read The Scarlet Letter, and frankly I'm not sure I ever will, but I am looking forward to reading this historical reimagining of the story behind it. Also, witchcraft.

7. The Whalebone Theatre - Joanna Quinn (Oct. 4)

Synopsis: One blustery night in 1928, a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel. By law, all whales belong to the King, but twelve-year-old Cristabel Seagrave has other plans. She and the rest of the household and their guests--her sister, Flossie (known affectionately as The Veg); her brother Digby, the long-awaited heir to Chilcombe manor; Maudie Kitkat, maidservant; Taras, a hot-tempered visiting artist--build a theatre within the whale's skeleton. Cristabel is an orphan, mostly ignored by her feckless step-parents and brisk governesses. But within the Whalebone Theatre, she is fully at home and in charge, and her imagination comes to life.

As Cristabel grows into a headstrong young woman, chafing against expectations, World War II rears its head. She and Digby become British secret agents working undercover in Nazi-Occupied France on separate missions--a more dangerous kind of play-acting, it turns out, and one that threatens to tear the family apart.

Why I'm Excited: I swear this book has been following me around NetGalley and other new release lists for the last several months. I'm really hoping this reads like a war-era Station Eleven based on the theatrical elements in the synopsis, but we'll have to see! I'm starting to get more into wartime historical fiction and this one definitely caught my attention.

 8. The Family Game - Catherine Steadman (Oct. 18)

Synopsis: Harry is a novelist on the brink of stardom; Edward, her husband-to-be, is seemingly perfect. In love and freshly engaged, their bliss is interrupted by the reemergence of the Holbecks, Edward's eminent family and the embodiment of American old money. For years, they've dominated headlines and pulled society's strings, and Edward left them all behind to forge his own path. But there are eyes and ears everywhere. It was only a matter of time before they were pulled back in . . .

After all, even though he's long severed ties with his family, Edward is set to inherit it all. Harriet is drawn to the glamour and sophistication of the Holbecks, who seem to welcome her with open arms, but everything changes when she meets Robert, the inescapably magnetic head of the family. At their first meeting, Robert slips Harry a cassette tape, revealing a shocking confession which sets the inevitable game in motion.
What is it about Harry that made him give her that tape? A thing that has the power to destroy everything? As she ramps up her quest for the truth, she must endure the Holbecks' savage Christmas traditions all the while knowing that losing this game could be deadly.

Why I'm Excited: This book mainly just sounds like a good time. I'm not expecting anything mind-blowing or revelatory but the plot does seem different from other thrillers I've read recently. Sometimes you just need to read about some weird in-laws.

9. Demon Copperhead - Barbara Kingsolver (Oct. 18)

Synopsis: Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father's good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.

Why I'm Excited: The other book on my 'classic retelling' list. I haven't read David Copperfield either, but am interested in this book's references to institutional poverty and the American South. This is a big boy at 560 pages, but I'm looking forward to tackling it nonetheless.

10. Self-Portrait with Nothing - Aimee Pokwatka (Oct. 18)

Synopsis: Abandoned as an infant on the local veterinarian’s front porch, Pepper Rafferty was raised by two loving mothers, and now at thirty-six is married to the stable, supportive Ike. She’s never told anyone that at fifteen she discovered the identity of her biological mother.

That’s because her birth mother is Ula Frost, a reclusive painter famous for the outrageous claims that her portraits summon their subjects’ doppelgangers from parallel universes.

Researching the rumors, Pepper couldn’t help but wonder:
Was there a parallel universe in which she was more confident, more accomplished, better able to accept love?
A universe in which Ula decided she was worth keeping?
A universe in which Ula’s rejection didn’t still hurt too much to share?

Sometimes living our best life means embracing the imperfect one we already have…
 

Why I'm Excited: This book appears to be a blend of science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism that I can't totally decipher. I can't even really tell what it's about. But I do know that I love the cover and the premise of summoning people from alternate universes through paintings is dope, so I'm in.

11. The Passenger - Cormac McCarthy (Oct. 25)

Synopsis: 1980, PASS CHRISTIAN, MISSISSIPPI: It is three in the morning when Bobby Western zips the jacket of his wetsuit and plunges from the boat deck into darkness. His divelight illuminates the sunken jet, nine bodies still buckled in their seats, hair floating, eyes devoid of speculation. Missing from the crash site are the pilot’s flightbag, the plane’s black box, and the tenth passenger. But how? A collateral witness to machinations that can only bring him harm, Western is shadowed in body and spirit – by men with badges; by the ghost of his father, inventor of the bomb that melted glass and flesh in Hiroshima; and by his sister, the love and ruin of his soul.

Traversing the American South, from the garrulous bar rooms of New Orleans to an abandoned oil rig off the Florida coast, The Passenger is a breathtaking novel of morality and science, the legacy of sin, and the madness that is human consciousness.

Why I'm Excited: It's been a long time since we've gotten a new McCarthy. I read The Road a long time ago and have Blood Meridian sitting on my shelf right now and I just added No Country for Old Men to my TBR. This guy writes nothing but masterpieces, so why wouldn't this be on my list?

So many books this month! What are you most excited for in October? What's on your to-read list? Let me know!.

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