Book Club Picks for October 2021

by Heather Caliendo
Featured Image for October 2021 book club picks
This post contains links to products that I may receive compensation from at no additional cost to you. View my Affiliate Disclosure page here.

Let’s take a look at the best book club picks for October 2021!

We’re now in fall reading season! And while I typically view summer as the best reading time, this fall has plenty of fantastic books from Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land to Amor Towles’ The Lincoln Highway. I have these picks and more in my huge must-read book club picks for 2021 list.

Now let’s talk specifically about October! Is it about the spooky reads for you? Perhaps a twisty thriller? Or is it just like any other month? Whatever your preference, here are five great new releases for book clubs in order of pub dates.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

Erin Sterling, also writes as Rachel Hawkins, the New York Times bestselling author of multiple books for young readers. She’s taking a dip into the adult fiction world with a spooky romantic comedy. The story follows a witch and hex that goes wrong. It sounds like a fun, atmospheric book for Halloween! I can already see book clubs holding meetings full of Halloween-theme food and drink choices. Here’s the full synopsis:

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

The book will publish on Sept. 28. You can order it on Amazon here.


We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza

I’ve been looking forward to We Are Not Like Them for a long time! I loved Jo Piazza’s Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win (highly recommend). Her latest is co-written with Christina Pride who is a writer, editor, and longtime publishing veteran. We Are Not Like Them sounds ripped from the headlines as it follows two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event. The early in the month pub date and the topic’s relevancy definitely sounds prime for one of the celebrity book clubs to select this one for their October pick. Here’s the full synopsis:

Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia.

But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.

Like Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage and Jodi Picoult’s Small Great ThingsWe Are Not Like Them explores complex questions of race and how they pervade and shape our most intimate spaces in a deeply divided world. But at its heart, it’s a story of enduring friendship—a love that defies the odds even as it faces its most difficult challenges.

The book will publish on October 5. You can order the book on Amazon here.


State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

You run for President of the United States as the first woman nominee and you wonder what’s next? Why not try fiction writing? I do think it’s entertaining that both Bill and Hillary are contributing to two different fiction endeavors. I wonder if there will be competition on which one sells better, haha. But State of Terror does sound interesting (and I think more compelling than Bill’s books). This is a political thriller that deals with a carefully constructed conspiracy and features an untested new secretary of state. Here’s the full synopsis:

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state. 

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source. 

Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.

What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena. 

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of power in the places where it counts the most. 

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state. 

State of Terror is a unique and utterly compelling international thriller cowritten by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th secretary of state, and Louise Penny, a multiple award-winning #1 New York Timesbestselling novelist.

The book will publish on October 12. You can order the book on Amazon here.


The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski

A Halloween-themed thriller? Yes, please! These suburban type tales typically make for entertaining reads. Here’s the full synopsis:

The annual Halloween block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plans the event for months.

Except the Ivy Five has been four for a long time.

When a new mother moves to town, eager to fit in, the moms see it as an opportunity to make the group whole again. This year’s block party should be the best yet… until the women start receiving anonymous messages threatening to expose the quiet neighborhood’s dark past—and the lengths they’ve gone to hide it.

As secrets seep out and the threats intensify, the Ivy Five must sort the loyal from the disloyal, the good from the bad. They’ll do anything to protect their families. But when a twisted plot is revealed, with dangerous consequences, their steady foundation begins to crumble, leaving only one certainty: after this year’s block party, Ivy Woods Drive will never be the same.

From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…

The book will publish on October 12. You can order it on Amazon here.


The Hidden Child by Louise Fein

For those who love historical fiction, you should check out The Hidden Child by Louise Fein. Inspired by the author’s personal experience, it’s a story about a family in the 1920s torn apart by secrets. Here’s the full synopsis:

Eleanor Hamilton is happily married and mother to a beautiful four-year-old girl, Mabel. Her husband, Edward, is a leading light in the burgeoning Eugenics movement, which is designing the very ideas that will soon be embraced by Hitler.

But when their daughter develops debilitating epileptic seizures, their world fractures. Mabel’s shameful illness must be hidden or Edward’s life’s work and the family’s honor will be in jeopardy.

When Eleanor discovers Edward has been keeping secrets, she calls into question everything she believed about genetic inferiority, and her previous unshakeable faith in her husband disintegrates. Alarmed, distressed, and no longer able to bear the family’s burden, she takes matters into her own hands.

Inspired by her personal experience, author Louise Fein illuminates moral and ethical issues of an era shaped by xenophobia, prejudice, fear, and well-intentioned yet flawed science. Vividly rendered, deeply affecting, and impeccably researched, The Hidden Child is a sweeping story and a richly drawn portrait of a family torn apart by shame, deceit, and dangerous ideals.

The book will publish on October 19. You can order the book on Amazon here.

Happy reading!

You may also like

Leave a Comment