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260: Trang Thanh Tran’s SHE IS A HAUNTING - October 2023 Book Club


Episode graphic - cover of She Is a Haunting with text Trang Thanh Tran's She Is a Haunting - October 2023 Book Club, episode 260

Are you looking for a ghost story that also explores important social issues? Our October 2023 Unabridged book club pick, Trang Thanh Tran’s She Is a Haunting (Bookshop.org), is a young adult horror novel set in Vietnam and explores the lasting impact of colonialism on the country. Listen in to hear our thoughts about this debut novel and check out our pairings, including Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always (Bookshop.org) and Ryan La Sala’s The Honeys (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm).

In addition to monthly bonus episodes, we are now releasing more content on Patreon and just unveiled a Spooky Reads Recommendation guide for subscribers. We appreciate your support so much. If you haven't joined us there yet, you can check the details out here.



Bookish Check-in

Ashley - Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Carrie Soto Is Back (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

Jen - Rebecca Ross’s Divine Rivals (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Our Book Club Pick

Trang Thanh Tran’s She Is a Haunting (Bookshop.org)


Our Pairings

Ashley - Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always (Bookshop.org)

Jen - Ryan La Sala’s The Honeys (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Mentioned in Episode

Tiffany D. Jackson's The Weight of Blood (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

Michael Bennett’s Better the Blood (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Flashback - 5 Years Ago This Month (October 2018)

Listen in to hear what we were up to this month, and hop over to the socials to tell us what you were doing!


(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)


Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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Bookish Check-in

Ashley was reading...

Book Cover of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Carrie Soto is Back

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Carrie Soto Is Back (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


From the Publisher: "Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular.


"By the time Carrie retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Slam titles. And if you ask her, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father as her coach.


"But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning, British player named Nicki Chan.


"At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked the 'Battle-Axe' anyway. Even if her body doesn't move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.


"In spite of it all: Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells a story about the cost of greatness and a legendary athlete attempting a comeback."


Jen was reading...

Book cover of Rebecca Ross’s Divine Rivals

Rebecca Ross’s Divine Rivals (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


From the Publisher:

"When two young rival journalists find love through a magical connection, they must face the depths of hell, in a war among gods, to seal their fate forever.


"After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again. But eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow just wants to hold her family together. Her mother is suffering from addiction and her brother is missing from the front lines. Her best bet is to win the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.


"To combat her worries, Iris writes letters to her brother and slips them beneath her wardrobe door, where they vanish―into the hands of Roman Kitt, her cold and handsome rival at the paper. When he anonymously writes Iris back, the two of them forge a connection that will follow Iris all the way to the front lines of battle: for her brother, the fate of mankind, and love."


Our Book Club Pick

Book cover of Trang Thanh Tran's She Is a Haunting

Trang Thanh Tran’s She Is a Haunting (Bookshop.org)


From the Publisher:

"When Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam for a visit with her estranged father, she has one goal: survive five weeks pretending to be a happy family in the French colonial house Ba is restoring. She's always lied to fit in, so if she's straight enough, Vietnamese enough, American enough, she can get out with the college money he promised.


"But the house has other plans. Night after night, Jade wakes up paralyzed. The walls exude a thrumming sound while bugs leave their legs and feelers in places they don't belong. She finds curious traces of her ancestors in the gardens they once tended. And at night Jade can't ignore the ghost of the beautiful bride who leaves cryptic warnings: Don't eat.


"Neither Ba nor her sweet sister Lily believe that there is anything strange happening. With help from a delinquent girl, Jade will prove this house--the home they have always wanted--will not rest until it destroys them. Maybe, this time, she can keep her family together. As she roots out the house's rot, she must also face the truth of who she is and who she must become to save them all."


Our Pairings

Ashley recommended...

Book cover of Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always

Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always (Bookshop.org)


From the Publisher:

"Mr. Hood's Holiday House has stood for a thousand years, welcoming countless children into its embrace. It is a place of miracles, a blissful rounds of treats and seasons, where every childhood whim may be satisfied...


"There is a price to be paid, of course, but young Harvey Swick, bored with his life and beguiled by Mr. Hood's wonders, does not stop to consider the consequences. It is only when the House shows it's darker face — when Harvey discovers the pitiful creatures that dwell in its shadows — that he comes to doubt Mr. Hood's philanthropy.


"The House and its mysterious architect are not about to release their captive without a battle, however. Mr. Hood has ambitious for his new guest, for Harvey's soul burns brighter than any soul he has encountered in a thousand years..."


Jen recommended...

Book cover of Ryan La Sala’s The Honeys

Ryan La Sala’s The Honeys (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


From the Publisher:

"Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline's radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who'd grown tragically distant.


"Mars's genderfluidity means he's often excluded from the traditions -- and expectations -- of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.


"What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister's old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying -- and Mars is certain they're connected to Caroline's death.


"But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can't find it soon, it will eat him alive."

 

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