October 2021 New Releases, Part One

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If you’re new to Hide Your Wallet, this is where we list new releases we’re pretty excited for in the coming month.

Each reviewer has a book maximum (five per person), and we’ve separated HYW into two parts. The first HYW of the month will cover books that release from the 1st to the 14th. The second HYW will cover books released from the 15th to the end of the month.

We also think this will help us feature books from smaller publishers who don’t have buy links up as early as the bigger trade houses.

As always, if we missed any books that you’re particularly looking forward to, tell us all about them in the comments. Let’s nerd out about language, especially when it comes to cults and brainwashing.

The Larks Still Bravely Singing

Author: Aster Glenn Gray
Released: October 4, 2021
Genre: Historical: European, LGBTQIA, Romance

The Great War cost Robert his left leg and his first love.

A shattering breakup leaves Robert convinced that he is a destructive force in romantic relationships. When he finds himself falling in love with David, an old friend from boarding school, he’s sure that he shouldn’t confess his feelings. But as their meandering conversations drift from books and poetry to more intimate topics, Robert’s love deepens – and so do his fears of hurting David.

Since he was wounded, David has been batted from hospital to hospital like a shuttlecock, leaving him adrift and anxious. His renewed friendship with Robert gives him a much-needed sense of peace and stability. Slowly, David opens up to Robert about the nervous fears that plague him, and when Robert responds with sympathy and support, David finds himself feeling much more than friendship. But he’s afraid that he’s already a burden on Robert, and that asking for more will only strain their developing bond.

Can these two wounded soldiers heal each other?

Content warning: period-typical homophobia and ableism (probably less than is strictly period typical, but this is a romance novel, not a historical essay), implied/referenced suicide

Aarya: Honeytrap is one of my favorite romance novels published in 2021 and cemented AGG into my list of auto-buy authors forever.

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A Splindle Splintered

Author: Alix Harrow
Released: October 5, 2021 by Tor.com
Genre: Novella, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Fractured Fables #1

USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow’s A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story.

It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no one has lived past twenty-one.

Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.

Amanda: I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a total fan girl for Harrow now.

Tara: I’ve read this already and I looooooove it. I can’t wait for the next book.

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Cackle

Author: Rachel Harrison
Released: October 5, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction/Fantasy

A darkly funny, frightening novel about a young woman learning how to take what she wants from a witch who may be too good to be true, from the author of The Return.

All her life, Annie has played it nice and safe. After being unceremoniously dumped by her longtime boyfriend, Annie seeks a fresh start. She accepts a teaching position that moves her from Manhattan to a small village upstate. She’s stunned by how perfect and picturesque the town is. The people are all friendly and warm. Her new apartment is dreamy too, minus the oddly persistent spider infestation.

Then Annie meets Sophie. Beautiful, charming, magnetic Sophie, who takes a special interest in Annie, who wants to be her friend. More importantly, she wants Annie to stop apologizing and start living for herself. That’s how Sophie lives. Annie can’t help but gravitate toward the self-possessed Sophie, wanting to spend more and more time with her, despite the fact that the rest of the townsfolk seem…a little afraid of her. And like, okay. There are some things. Sophie’s appearance is uncanny and ageless, her mansion in the middle of the woods feels a little unearthly, and she does seem to wield a certain power…but she couldn’t be…could she?

Sarah: More witch stories? YES more witch stories!

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The Death of Jane Lawrence

Author: Caitlin Starling
Released: October 5, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Gothic, Horror, Science Fiction/Fantasy

From the Bram Stoker-nominated author of The Luminous Dead comes a gothic fantasy horror–The Death of Jane Lawrence.

“Intense and amazing! It’s like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell meets Mexican Gothic meets Crimson Peak.” —BookRiot

Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town.

Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him. By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to.

Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Caitlin Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.

Amanda: I read Starling’s sci-fi horror The Luminous Dead and was intrigued by the vastly different setting here. It’s definitely eerie and perfect for spooky season.

Elyse: I love a good Gothic, but I keep reading the title as The Death of Jennifer Lawrence.

Ellen: Love a Gothic for spooky season!

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The Ex Hex

Author: Erin Sterling
Released: October 5, 2021 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Series: Ex Hex #1

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong.

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.

Sarah: Second chance romance with a “no way that curse worked” set up.

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Once More Upon a Time

Author: Roshani Chokshi
Released: October 5, 2021 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Romance, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Immerse yourself a highly unusual fairy tale by New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi.

Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire…But first they must remember what that is…

Sarah: Originally an, uh, Audible Original, this is a fairy tale romance with some PINING.

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Payback’s a Witch

Author: Lana Harper
Released: October 5, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: LGBTQIA, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: The Witches of Thistle Grove #1

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling rom-com by Lana Harper.

Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn’t been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.

But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She’s determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.

On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?

But most concerning of all: Why can’t she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?

Sarah: Charming AF I am so enjoying it!

Ellen: This is a fun one.

Tara: I’m having so much fun reading this one!

Sneezy: Chaotic bisexuals! Magic! More magic! IS CAT NIP!

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Squad

Author: Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Released: October 5, 2021 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBTQIA, Paranormal, Young Adult

Pretty Little Liars meets Teen Wolf in this fast-paced, sharply funny, and patriarchy-smashing graphic novel from author Maggie Tokuda-Hall and artist Lisa Sterle. When the new girl is invited to join her high school’s most popular clique, she can’t believe her luck—and she can’t believe their secret, either: they’re werewolves. Fans of Mariko Tamaki and Elana K. Arnold will devour the snappy dialogue, vivid artwork, and timely social commentary.

When Becca transfers to a high school in an elite San Francisco suburb, she’s worried she’s not going to fit in. To her surprise, she’s immediately adopted by the most popular girls in school. At first glance, Marley, Arianna, and Mandy are perfect. But at a party under a full moon, Becca learns that they also have a big secret.

Becca’s new friends are werewolves. Their prey? Slimy boys who take advantage of unsuspecting girls. Eager to be accepted, Becca allows her friends to turn her into a werewolf, and finally, for the first time in her life, she feels like she truly belongs.

But things get complicated when Arianna’s predatory boyfriend is killed, and the cops begin searching for a serial killer. As their pack begins to buckle under the pressure—and their moral high ground gets muddier and muddier—Becca realizes that she might have feelings for one of her new best friends.

Lisa Sterle’s stylish illustrations paired with Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s sharp writing make Squad a fun, haunting, and fast-paced thriller that will resonate with fans of Riverdale, and with readers of This Savage Song, Lumberjanes, and Paper Girls.

Amanda: Feminist, boy-eating werewolves. Hell yeah.

Tara: I love everything about this premise.

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Two Houses

Author: Suleena Bibra
Released: October 5, 2021 by Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance

Mixing love and art might end up being an epic disaster…

…or the beginning of a beautiful collaboration.

If there’s one thing Priya Gupta wants, it’s to land the collection of the year for her family’s NYC auction house, gaining the approval of her father in the process.

Running an extremely close second? For a very small sinkhole to open up under the feet of Gavin Carlyle, her childhood rival turned auction-house competitor, so she never has to see his smug, irritatingly handsome face again.

Neither of those options seem likely, especially since Gavin is dead set on winning the same collection—and his pockets are as deep as his family’s extensive art world connections. Plus, he has charm to spare. Though Priya would walk over hot coals before ever admitting that.

When they are both invited to a posh country estate to spend the week wooing the prospective client, their longtime rivalry creates sparks, all right, just not the kind either Priya or Gavin ever expected…

Sarah: Forced proximity and competing art auction houses? Surely!

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The Vanished Days

Author: Susanna Kearsley
Released: October 5, 2021 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Historical: European, Literary Fiction
Series: Slains #3

From international bestselling author Susanna Kearsley comes a historical tale of intrigue and revolution in Scotland, where the exile of King James brought plots, machinations, suspicion and untold bravery to light. An investigation of a young widow’s secrets by a man who’s far from objective, leads to a multi-layered tale of adventure, endurance, romance…and the courage to hope.

In the autumn of 1707, old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are finding common ground as they join to protest the new Union with England. At the same time, the French are preparing to launch an invasion to bring the young exiled Jacobite king back to Scotland to reclaim his throne, and in Edinburgh the streets are filled with discontent and danger.

Queen Anne’s commissioners, seeking to calm the situation, have begun paying out money sent up from London to settle the losses and wages owed to those Scots who took part in the disastrous Darien expedition eight years earlier—an ill-fated venture that left Scotland all but bankrupt.

When the young widow of a Darien sailor comes forward to collect her husband’s wages, her claim is challenged. One of the men assigned to investigate has only days to decide if she’s honest, or if his own feelings are blinding him to the truth.

The Vanished Days is a prequel and companion novel to The Winter Sea, with action that overlaps some of the action in that book. The Vanished Days goes back in time to the 1680s and introduces the reader to the Moray and Graeme families.

Aarya: Fantastic execution of unreliable narrator. Kearsley fans will find a lot to love in familiar Moray cameos.

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Vespertine

Author: Margaret Rogerson
Released: October 5, 2021 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Vespertine #1

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a thrilling new YA fantasy about a teen girl with mythic abilities who must defend her world against restless spirits of the dead.

The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

Amanda: New Margaret Rogerson! I’m also curious as this appears to be her series and her previous books have been one-offs.

Ellen: In my view, Margaret Rogerson can do no wrong.

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Longshadow

Author: Olivia Atwater
Released: October 7, 2021 by Starwatch Press
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Romance, Historical: European, LGBTQIA, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Regency Faerie Tales #3

Proper Regency ladies are not supposed to become magicians—but Miss Abigail Wilder is far from proper.

Abigail Wilder’s father may be the Lord Sorcier of England, but that does not mean that society is willing to accept her as a magician. When a dark lord of faerie threatens London, however, Abigail is determined to uncover the truth and save Lord Longshadow’s victims—and neither good manners nor her father’s worries will stop her.

Abigail is not the only one investigating the terrible events in London, though. A street rat named Mercy soon insists on joining her cause—and while Mercy’s own magic is strange and foreboding, she may well pose an even greater danger to Abigail’s heart.

The latest installment in the series that began with Half a Soul weaves a dark faerie tale full of defiant hope. Pick up Longshadow, and return once more to Olivia Atwater’s charming, magical version of Regency England.

Aarya: I devoured the first two romances in the series after a recommendation from Talia Hibbert’s newsletter. Thought-provoking class critique and magical regency world building.

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Paladin’s Hope

Author: T. Kingfisher
Released: October 9, 2021 by Red Wombat Studio
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Romance, LGBTQIA, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: The Saint of Steel #3

Piper is a lich-doctor, a physician who works among the dead, determining causes of death for the city guard’s investigations. It’s a peaceful, if solitary profession…until the day when he’s called to the river to examine the latest in a series of mysterious bodies, mangled by some unknown force.

Galen is a paladin of a dead god, lost to holiness and no longer entirely sane. He has long since given up on any hope of love. But when the two men and a brave gnole constable are drawn into the web of the mysterious killer, it’s Galen’s job to protect Piper from the traps that await them.

He’s just not sure if he can protect Piper from the most dangerous threat of all…

Aarya: I really enjoyed previous Saint of Steel books and I’m thrilled for Galen’s romance! Kingfisher writes morbid rom-coms, in my opinion — funny dialogue with gore and a high body count.

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The Brightest Star in Paris

Author: Diana Biller
Released: October 12, 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Historical: European, Romance

In Diana Biller’s The Brightest Star in Paris, love is waiting; you only have to let it in.

Amelie St. James, prima ballerina of the Paris Opera Ballet and the people’s saint, has spent seven years pretending. In the devastating aftermath of the Siege of Paris, she made a decision to protect her sister: she became the bland, sweet, pious “St. Amie” the ballet needed to restore its scandalous reputation. But when her first love reappears, and the ghosts of her past come back to haunt her, all her hard-fought safety is threatened.

Dr. Benedict Moore has never forgotten the girl who helped him embrace life again after he almost lost his. Now, he’s back in Paris after twelve years for a conference. His goals are to recruit promising new scientists, and, maybe, to see Amelie again. When he discovers she’s in trouble, he’s desperate to help her—after all, he owes her.

When she finally agrees to let him help, they disguise their time together with a fake courtship. But reigniting old feelings is dangerous, especially when their lives are an ocean apart. Will they be able to make it out with their hearts intact?

Aarya: A brilliant followup to The Widow of Rose House. I think I loved this one even more (don’t quote me on that, I reserve the right to switch my allegiance back to Samuel Moore at any time!). FYI: the ghosts in the blurb mean literal spooky ghosts, not metaphorical ghosts.

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Tacos for Two

Author: Betty St. Amant
Released: October 12, 2021 by Revell
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Inspirational, Romance

Rory Perez, a food truck owner who can’t cook, is struggling to keep the business she inherited from her aunt out of the red–and an upcoming contest during Modest’s annual food truck festival seems the best way to do it. The prize money could finally give her a solid financial footing and keep her cousin with special needs paid up at her beloved assisted living home. Then maybe Rory will have enough time to meet the man she’s been talking to via an anonymous online dating site.

Jude Strong is tired of being a puppet at his manipulative father’s law firm, and the food truck festival seems like the perfect opportunity to dive into his passion for cooking and finally call his life his own. But if he loses the contest, he’s back at the law firm for good. Failure is not an option.

Complications arise when Rory’s chef gets mono and she realizes she has to cook after all. Then Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he’s been falling for online the past month.

Will these unlikely chefs sacrifice it all for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one?

Shana: I love a romance with a food competition.

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