The Best Books I Read in October 2021

This month’s list is scary good, so brace your TBR

Photo by the author

I regret to inform you that “spooky season” this year has, alas, come to an end. 

Normally, I’m not a big October/Halloween vibes person, being generally resistant to any reminder that Winter is Coming. But this year, I decided to do some witchy theme reading to make the month feel like a celebration, and can I just say, that strategy was, um, alarming effective? 

I’m actually sad to see October go, and not just because we’re one step closer to the Cold Times. Obviously I can read fun witchy magical books any time, but this is the first year I’ve really gone in for themed reading and it has been an absolute blast. (Even if I didn’t 100% love this season’s prime Instagram darling, The Ex Hex).

Thankfully, the winter holiday amalgamation is on the horizon, and I’ll be theming my reads all winter long to survive. But, we’re not there quite yet, so let’s linger a moment on the best books I read in October 2021! 

(Full disclosure: Links to specific books are Bookshop affiliate links which earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Mentions of Book of the Month are referral codes.)

The Witch Haven 

The Witch Haven started off spooky season for me this year, and it was the perfect October read. A good balance of love story, female friendship, and magic, this one left me with shivers down my spine in the best of ways. 

I wrote a full review shortly after finishing, so I’ll let past Amanda get you up to speed on this one if you want to know more: ‘The Witch Haven’ Casts a Powerful Spell
Don’t expect it to feel like going back to Hogwarts

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

Holy fascinating and well-performed audiobooks, Batman! Cultish was such an absolute delight of a read that when my friend told me she’d started it, I yelled at her with so much enthusiasm I scared the dog. 

Amanda Montell’s got a family connection to some cult history that spawned her interest in researching the subject. I love investigative nonfiction with some personal narrative thrown in, and this book delivers just the right touch of narrative personality while still hitting you hard with solid facts and interviews about her topic.

Montell is an expert in linguistics, and approaches cults and cult-like groups from this angle, looking at how the words we use influence our viewpoint and feeling of belongingness (or lack thereof). Here I go about to write a second, gushing full review, so I’m going to stop here and let you know you can find more of my thoughts in my original review

Well Matched

Photo by (and of) the author

Sleep? Who needs it when you can have this steamy delight of a fake-dating trope romance with a Ren Fest twist thrown in? 

Jen Deluca is a two-time member of the “broke my bedtime” club thanks to Well Matched, which I preordered so I could receive fun stickers and a signed copy. If, like me, the cupcakes on a stack of books seems like a weird reference, you should probably go ahead and read because that reference is gold once you get it. 

Full review, complete with photo of angry/confused pup wondering why I kept the lights on so late, here: “Well Matched” Kept Me Up All Night
Staying up late to read rom coms like the rebel that I am

Payback’s a Witch

Payback’s a Witch in my opinion, should’ve had more witchy October buzz than it got. 

The worldbuilding is fascinating, with a unique magical system that relies on proximity to the town and includes the ability to become a witch through marriage. In a nutshell, this is John Tucker Must Die made magical with slightly higher stakes and a Sapphic romance thrown in, making it a truly delightful book to round out spooky season. 

I’ve got a few chapters left in this one yet, which I plan to read while sitting on my porch during trick or treat this evening. 

The Mediator Series, Books 1–4, 6

Ah, nostalgia. I’ve written a lot about this series over the course of the month, so I’ll spare you too many details here. I’ve been listening to the audiobook versions of the story of teenage Mediator Suze Simon, who has the ability to see (kick, punch, and kiss) ghosts, and it’s been an absolute treat. 

I also “read” book 5 this month but the abridged, 2 hour audiobook is a travesty which I would not willingly unleash upon anyone, so it’s strongly and intentionally not included here. The book itself is great, but go with the print all the way if you’re going to do it because the abridgement does not, in my opinion, even make very much sense. 

Honorable Mentions (AKA Other Stuff I Read This Month)

These are the books that didn’t quite make the cut for best of the best this month, but I finished them, which means they’d earn at least 3 stars from me were I the star-giving sort

In all, this month’s decision to theme my reading around Halloween was a real treat! I’m excited to dive into holiday reads in the coming months, though I’m going to tackle some of my digital TBR as well. 

Did you read any stellar books in October, whether spooky or not? I’d love to hear about them! 

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9 thoughts on “The Best Books I Read in October 2021

  1. I love seeing what other book bloggers are reading and it looks like you’ve had an amazing October in books Amanda! I hope you have a great November!

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