Posted in Books

Series I Need to Finish Soon (Somebody remind me…)

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles, and for those of you in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for all of your support, and I’m so thankful to have such a welcoming community here. 💗

I think this was a topic for Top Ten Tuesday a few weeks back, but I don’t usually do those since I do my book reviews that day. But it reminded me of a problem I often have—really enjoying a book, then never getting around to finishing the rest of the series. Too often, the sequel(s) immediately go on my TBR, and then…just disappear into oblivion and stay there for a few years. So this post is to call attention to some fun series—trilogies and duologies alike—that I need to finish, and a reminder for myself to finish said series.

Let’s begin, shall we?

SERIES I NEED TO FINISH SOON

Light the Abyss – London Shah

I had so much fun with London Shah’s unique take on dystopia, The Light at the Bottom of the World, so I was eager to read the sequel! Book 2 came out last year, and the sad part is that I regularly saw it at my local library and never got around to picking it up. Someday…

For my review of The Light at the Bottom of the World, click here!

Into the Crooked Place – Alexandra Christo

A lot of people didn’t seem to be as much of a fan of Into the Crooked Place as I was; I understand the sentiment that it was too similar to Six of Crows (Wes certainly was…), but I think it had a really inventive and twisty take on the YA heist fantasy genre. City of Spells came out last year, and it’s been sitting on my Libby wishlist for far too long…

For my review of Into the Crooked Place, click here!

Skin of the Sea – Natasha Bowen

I sort of have an excuse for having not finished this series yet, since Soul of the Deep only came out about two months ago, but I can’t wait to finish Natasha Bowen’s incredible mermaid duology!

The Bright Sessions – Lauren Shippen

I haven’t even listened to the podcast that these books were based on (although I’ve heard it described as “X-Men if they got therapy,” so you’ve sold me there), but I’ve had so much fun exploring Lauren Shippen’s tender, superpowered world. Some Faraway Place came out last year, and I’ve been meaning to put it on hold for so long…

For my mini review of The Infinite Noise, click here!

The Aurelian Cycle – Rosaria Munda

One of my best friends got me hooked on these fantastic books, and they’re proof that fantasy writers just don’t do nearly as much as they should with dragons. DRAGONS!!! (Also a protagonist that I imagine looking like a fantasy Black Widow…love Annie) Furysong came out this August, and I’m patiently waiting for it to be available on Libby…

The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi

Another incredibly inventive and twisty heist fantasy, The Silvered Serpents left me on a devastating cliffhanger, and now that The Bronzed Beasts is out, I might be able to get some closure at last…

Tell me what you think! What are some series that you want to finish, but haven’t? Are the sequels I’ve listed worth the hype? Let me know in the comments!

Today’s song:

I need to listen to this album, don’t I

That’s it for this bookish post! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/22/22) – The Depths

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I found out about The Depths after Nicole Lesperance’s other YA novel, The Wide Starlight, was my first 5-star read of the year. (For my review of The Wide Starlight, click here!) After it came out, I was excited to read it after how much The Wide Starlight impacted me. I knew going into The Depths that it would be a very different kind of book, and that was certainly the case—compared to Starlight, it was a slight disappointment, but when separated from Lesperance’s other works, it’s a unique horror story with a creative setting.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Depths – Nicole Lesperance

After a free-diving accident left her medically dead for several minutes, 17-year-old Adeline Spencer has to tag along with her mother and step-father on their honeymoon. In a secluded, nearly uninhabited island, Addie is supposed to stay put while she recovers from her near-fatal lung injury. But Eulalie Island is full of strange secrets—birds that seem to call her name, flowers that bleed bloodred sap, and a 200-year history of mysterious deaths. When she uncovers a centuries-old mystery hidden in a remote cave system , Addie must rescue herself from the same fate before Eulalie Island takes her in as one of its own.

TW/CW (from the author): death, past child death, blood, drowning, venomous insects/arachnids (spiders, centipedes, etc.)

I’m not much of a horror person, but after The Wide Starlight captured my heart, I was willing to give this novel a try. Sadly, The Depths didn’t blow me away like her previous novel did, but it still held its own with its unique take on a spine-chilling ghost story.

What really saved The Depths for me was its unique approach to the genre. Even though I don’t read/watch much horror at all, I’ve seen hardly any horror stories that take place in tropical locations. The secluded setting of Eulalie Island was the perfect, underused setup for a story like this—a chilling history of shipwrecks and sickness, cave systems that are all too easy to get lost in, and plenty of creepy crawlies to go around—not to mention the color-changing flowers that appear to bleed. (If I hadn’t already been dissuaded before, The Depths further convinced me that I’m not going caving any time soon.) Despite the supernatural elements, there were so many elements that felt real, and that’s part of what made it so successful. The Depths is a fantastic case study in using all aspects of your setting to make the most of your story.

I also love how Lesperance wove all of these centuries of history into her mystery; it’s easy to establish recurring events in your story, but the detail that she put into each part of the timeline—plus the presence of the ghosts and each one of their stories—gave the plot a more tangible sense of scale and weight. Even though I’ve repeated that The Wide Starlight and The Depths are two very different novels, when they stand together, you can see how skilled Lesperance is with building history and establishing a clear and well-thought-out timeline.

However, I found several elements of the story to be rather predictable. As detailed as the timeline was, the “plot twists” were often left behind, making for plot points that were easy to see coming—and I’m saying this as someone who hardly ever reads or watches horror. Without spoiling anything, the most obvious was the twist with Sean—I remember seeing that one coming from at least 100 pages before it was revealed. To be fair, it was at least a decently clever twist, but the fact that it was so easy to predict took a little bit away from my enjoyment of the story, even though I’m not the best at maneuvering plot twists.

All in all, a solid horror story that excelled in its unique setting, but fell flat in its predictability. 3.5 stars!

The Depths is a standalone, but Nicole Lesperance is also the author of The Wide Starlight, as well as the middle grade Nightmare Thief duology (The Nightmare Thief and The Dream Spies).

Today’s song:

the single most unexpectedly motivational song I’ve ever heard and I LOVE it

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekly Update: November 14 – 20, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

It’s getting colder still down here—we had not one, but two big snows this week, which resulted in having no classes the Friday before break! Needless to say, I only left my dorm to get breakfast and lunch that day before I went back home. Hot chocolate season.

Despite the cold, it’s been an exciting week! Namely, I had the incredible honor of meeting Alison Bechdel!! She came to speak to my comics class, and I even had the opportunity to workshop some of my own artwork with her! It was such an unforgettable experience, and one I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. (And I didn’t ugly cry this time!!! Got a little choked up, though. She liked my Frankenstein phone case haha) And speaking of big feels, I’ve been reconnecting with my middle school self now that it’s confirmed that the Search for WondLa TV show is officially coming to Apple TV+ sometime next year. It’s times like this that make me wish I could deliver messages to my past self, just to tell her that her middle school dreams are coming true. This show better be good.

I’ve had more time to read this week, and it’s been a mixed bag, but I definitely found a gem or two amongst them. I stopped by the comics shop on the way home, and between all of those (me & all my silly little X-Men spin-offs) and Scattered Showers, I think I’ll have plenty to read this week.

Other than that, I’ve just been making an excess of hot chocolate (big thank you to my mom for supplying me with all those hot cocoa packets), drawing, learning some more Radiohead on guitar, and finishing the new season of the Great British Bakeoff. (Now I need to start watching the Holiday Bakeoff to fill the void…)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Vicious (Villains, #1) – V.E. Schwab (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic – Alison Bechdel (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Killing November (Killing November, #1) – Adriana Mather (⭐️⭐️)

The Trouble with White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism – Kyla Schuller (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Depths – Nicole Lesperance (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

THE ONE, LONELY POST I MADE THIS WEEK:

THE ONE, LONELY SONG THAT WENT ALONG WITH IT:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Scattered Showers – Rainbow Rowell (anthology)

Today’s song:

seeing the smile in a few weeks (!!!!!!) and apparently they’re playing this in the encore??? GOOD STUFF

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/15/22) – She Gets the Girl

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! Even more snow today…

I initially put She Gets the Girl on my TBR because of so much buzz from my fellow bloggers, and I like to go for a queer romance every once in a while. I read it recently and I liked that it was from the perspective of a freshman in college (hey, it’s me!), but beyond that, it felt more like a mess of unlikeable characters and uncomfortable peer pressure instead of feel-good romance.

Enjoy this week’s review!

She Gets the Girl – Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

Alex Blackwood is entering college on the heels of a nasty breakup. Molly Parker is looking for love, and she’s in luck—her longtime crush, Cora Myers, is attending the same college as her. Problem is, Molly’s hopelessly awkward, especially around people she likes. When she and Alex have a chance encounter, they hatch a plan for Alex to polish up Molly’s flirting skills so that she can get the girl. But when Molly starts falling for Alex instead of Cora, the end goal becomes hazy…

TW/CW: alcoholism, toxic relationships, internalized racism, substance abuse

It’s all fun and games until the romance you picked up because you wanted it to be somewhat “feel-good” turns out to be…more uncomfortable than feel-good. It’s even harder when you hate one of the characters, and harder still when the two main characters seem to have hardly any chemistry. That’s the story of She Gets the Girl—a romance with an easy enough concept that was dragged down by forced and unlikable elements.

I’m sorry, I just have to get it out of the way: I hated Alex Blackwood. Hated her. It was clear that the authors were trying to make her a rough-around-the-edges character that would a) contrast Molly’s uptight and awkward personality and b) push her out of her comfort zone, which was a good enough pairing in concept. Key words here are “in concept.” What Alex ended up being was a total hypocrite—she’s so intent on being the opposite of her toxic ex, but turns around and manages to be just as toxic, just in a different way. And the whole concept of pushing Molly out of her comfort zone so that she can get with Cora? Most of it just ended up being Alex forcing Molly to do things that she was deeply uncomfortable with.

Thus, Molly and Alex had almost zero chemistry. Their entire relationship was built on the shaky foundation of knowing that they would end up together by the end of the book, and not much else. Everything was just…so forced. It’s heavily implied that Cora wasn’t a good option either since, yes, it as forced, but…I really don’t think dating Alex would’ve been a great option either, seeing as how much of a manipulative jerk she was to Molly. Proposed third option: Molly just takes off and finds better friends/lovers that…y’know, aren’t toxic?

That brings me to the weird message of this book. Throughout the book, all of the things that Alex pushes Molly to do to win Cora’s love involve changing herself in some way: changing her wardrobe into things she would normally be uncomfortable wearing, going to events that you have no experience in just to fit in with Cora, etc. It was sort of resolved by the relationship with Cora not working out, but Alex’s “advice” boiled down to Molly changing herself so that Cora would like her. I suppose they were trying to go with a “be true to yourself” message, which I really would’ve liked, but they resolved it by…pairing Molly with Alex, the one who was trying to force Molly to change in the first place. And Alex never apologizes for any of that—they just fall in love and then move on. Hence—no chemistry. No repercussions, save for the fling with Cora not working out. All that really happened was Alex’s manipulative actions being rewarded, which really rubbed me the wrong way. Even though Molly and Alex got into an argument about that, there was no sense of Alex taking responsibility for forcing Molly into all that uncomfortable stuff. I really wish Lippincott and Derrick had handled their relationship—and the message—better. She Gets the Girl had an easy way to send a good message, but it ended up bungling it all in the end.

There were a few aspects of She Gets the Girl that I did like. It’s always nice to have a mixed race character, and having Molly be mixed race really freshened things up, as well as some of the discussions about internalized racism. Even though I still despise Alex, the way they handled the situation with her mother was also respectfully handled—hard to read, but it seemed genuine to me. However, a lot of this ended up being overshadowed by how much of a mess the rest of the book was.

Overall, a romance that stumbled and fell when creating chemistry between the two characters, making for an uncomfortable book—and an uncomfortable message. 2 stars.

She Gets the Girl is a standalone, and the first and only book that Rachael Lippincott has written with her wife, Alyson Derrick. Lippincott is also the author of Five Feet Apart and All This Time (both co-written with Mikki Daughtry), as well as The Lucky List.

Today’s song:

listened to the whole album yesterday! it was one of those cases where I listened to all of the best songs beforehand so the rest of the album wasn’t *as* good (still good though), but it’s a great album

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 7-13, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

The temperatures are dropping big time on campus, and I’ve been making plenty of hot chocolate and tea for the occasion. Luckily, I haven’t had an awful lot to do this week, save for a project for comics class. (We also talked about Ms. Marvel this week in that class, which was SO FUN) It’s so strange to think that there’s only about a month left in the semester—I feel like there should still be several months left, with the way that it’s flown by. Jeez.

I’ve had a little more time to read. I snagged a few books from various sections of the library last week, and I went through them, along with a few re-reads for comics class. I went home for the weekend and I was able to reunite with my beloved Kindle, so now I have that to get me through next week.

Other than that, I’ve just been catching up on The Great British Bakeoff (FINALS NEXT WEEK AAAAAAAA), drawing, playing guitar when I can, listening to Lush and Suede, and seeing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (pretty solid!). VERY glad that Thanksgiving Break starts next week…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Queen of the Tiles – Hanna Alkaf (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Ms. Marvel, vol. 1: No Normal – G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (re-read) (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art – Scott McCloud (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

She Gets the Girl – Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick (⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Fun Home – Alison Bechdel (for school)

Vicious (Villains, #1) – V.E. Schwab

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 Book Tag

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I’m having a nice, relaxing weekend at home (seeing the new Black Panther tonight too!!), so I figured I’d do another tag! I found this one over at Becky @ Becky’s Book Blog, and I haven’t been able to find the original creator, so if you know who it is, please let me know so I can credit them.

Let’s begin, shall we?

🔢 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 BOOK TAG 🔢

5 BOOKS YOU LOVE

If I had to narrow down my favorites to *just* 5, I’d have to pick Frankenstein, Aurora Rising, Heart of Iron, Madman Yearbook ’95, and On a Sunbeam. Maybe. I think. The first three are fairly certain, but it gets hazy from there, but I still love every single one of these books with all my heart.

4 AUTOBUY AUTHORS

At this point, all of these authors—Amie Kaufman, Becky Chambers, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, and Rainbow Rowell—are ones that I immediately preorder from (or at least put on hold at the library) if they’re coming out with anything new. (anybody else excited for Isles of the Gods???)

3 FAVORITE GENRES

Anyone who’s followed this blog for a while knows that I’m a complete sci-fi fan to the bone. Absolute favorite genre!! After that, I’d say fantasy and magical realism; fantasy was my favorite genre before I got really into sci-fi, but I still love it. I’ve gotten into magical realism more recently, but I’ve read some incredibly memorable books in the genre.

2 PLACES YOU READ

During the day, I tend to read on the couch, and at night, I love to read while cozy in bed.

1 BOOK YOU PROMISE TO READ SOON

I’ve been meaning to read Vicious for a while after loving the Shades of Magic trilogy, and I just downloaded it on my Kindle, so I’ll be reading this as soon as I can!

I TAG:

Today’s song:

big thank you to my mom for introducing me to lush on the car ride home yesterday

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/8/22) – Huntress (Ash, #0.5)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Huntress is one of those books that just sat on my TBR collecting dust for several years. I decided to read it after finishing Ash a few years back, and I finally was able to get my hands on a copy from the university library. After remembering liking Ash, my expectations were average, and I was rewarded with a solid, strong fairytale full of darkness in unexpected places.

Huntress is technically a prequel, but it doesn’t necessarily require reading Ash beforehand, as its set in the same world, but hundreds of years earlier (you should read it anyway, though!). If you’d like to read my review of Ash, click here!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Huntress (Ash, #0.5) – Malinda Lo

Kaede and Taisin have been chosen for an insurmountable task: restoring order to the human world. For years, the sun hasn’t shone, the crops have dried up, and strange creatures have begun to breach the boundaries of human and otherworldly. The only way for them to seek answers is through the mysterious Fairy Queen, but the journey there may be more dangerous than what lies at the end. But as members of their party begin to die off, Kaede and Taisin must grapple with their futures—the future of the human world, and of the feelings they’re having for each other.

TW/CW: blood, fantasy violence, death, descriptions of injuries/corpses

“I don’t want to marry the man you arranged for me to marry because I don’t know him and I want to have control over my life”: good, good

“I don’t want to marry the man you arranged for me to marry because I don’t know him, I want to have control over my life, and also I’m a lesbian”: EVEN BETTER

It’s been a few years since I’ve read Ash, but reading Huntress doesn’t necessarily require a whole lot of knowledge of Ash‘s world to understand it. What remains, however, is that you have to remember that it was some of the first of its kind. Nowadays, YA is dominated by fairytale-inspired and fairytale retellings, some of which are queer, but stories like Ash and this companion were some of the first ones to do so—and some of the first to be openly queer. If you remember that (and if you can get past the painfully dated cover), you’re in for a fun ride—a dark and atmospheric piece of high fantasy filled with all sorts of danger and strange creatures.

Lo’s world is pretty distinctly High Fantasy™️, which I’ve been jaded with as of late, but her unique spin on it was enough to create a captivating world. Although the magic system was a little hazy, Lo’s descriptions of the barren landscape and treacherous forests created a world that felt real enough to step into. Even more captivating were the creatures that inhabited this world—everything from unicorns to horrifying changelings; the mythology around them and the stakes they created propelled the story even more. Plus, it’s always refreshing to have non-European inspiration for a high fantasy novel; in the author’s note, Lo explains that most of the book was inspired by both Chinese and Japanese mythology.

What I remember about Ash was how much I loved the main couple, but with Huntress, that was a little bit less of the case. In fact, I found Kaede and Taisin to be almost interchangeable (accentuated by the sporadic POV changes), but still compelling enough to root for. Most of the other characters were rather underdeveloped and forgettable, but Lo has a grim solution for the problem—killing them off. For me, it was Con who stole the show; he was the only character with a distinct personality, and it was a very lovable one at that. He’s the kind of character who probably would’ve been lumped in as the love interest in any other YA book, but having him as a platonic friend was so much more endearing.

Even though I loved Lo’s worldbuilding, I still wish that more was explored; we only got tidbits of the creatures in the Fairy Queen’s kingdom, and especially since the main villain was introduced so late in the book, I wished that we’d spent less time on the road and more time near the destination. The journey was interesting, sure, but it would’ve been more interesting to explore the more alien, unfamiliar corners of the world Lo created.

All in all, a solid piece of fantasy that made good use of its dark, barren atmosphere, but could’ve pushed it even further. 3.5 stars!

Huntress is a prequel to Ash, and they are the only books set in that universe. Malinda Lo is also the author of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, the Adaptation duology (consisting of Adaptation and Inheritance), and several other books for teens and adults.

Today’s song:

found this and “Metal Mickey” in a video somebody made of a medley of Britpop riffs, and…maybe I should check them out now?

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 31 – November 6, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week treated you well.

It doesn’t feel like it should be November—mentally, I still feel like it’s…mid-September? Maybe? It doesn’t feel like I’m almost done with the semester. Wow. Weather-wise, it feels like November, though—it’s getting a lot chillier over here, and we had our first snow on my campus on Thursday night and I walked through the snow to class on Friday morning. All of my classes are pretty close to my dorm, thankfully…

Halloween was also on Monday! I carved pumpkins with my parents over the weekend, and I wore my costume (Columbia from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) to class, which was a lot of fun. Nothing like eating a ton of candy and rewatching Rocky Horror in your dorm to celebrate the spooky season.

It’s definitely been fun to get back into the rhythm of blogging this week too! I haven’t been too busy, knock on wood, so hopefully I can start posting more. Good to be back. 💗 I tragically forgot my Kindle at home this week, but the good news is that one of the libraries on campus isn’t even a 5 minute walk from my dorm, so I was able to scrounge around there for stuff to read. Re-reading some great graphic novels for my comics class has also kept me going. And…I completely forgot that NaNoWriMo was a thing, but I’ll probably just put it off this year. Probably not the best time to do it, since…y’know, first semester of college, and all. Plus, I didn’t have any plans, anyway…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang (re-read) (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Sisters (Smile, #2) – Raina Telgemeier (re-read) (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Lost Apothecary – Sarah Penner (⭐️⭐️.5)

Huntress (Ash, #0.5) – Malinda Lo (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Queen of the Tiles – Hanna Alkaf

Ms. Marvel, vol. 1 – No Normal – G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (re-read) (for school)

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art – Scott McCloud

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic – Alison Bechdel (for school)

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

Fall into Fall Book Tag 🍁

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Still fall, so I might as well do this tag, right? Doesn’t *feel* very fall-like—we just got our first big snow on Thursday night, and it’s mostly melted now, but it’s still pretty chilly. We’ve still got a few straggler leaves, though, albeit very damp ones now.

Anyways, this tag was created by Silver Button Books, and I found the tag over at Classy x Book Reviews. I’m always up for a seasonal tag, especially if it’s my favorite season!

Let’s begin, shall we?

🍁FALL INTO FALL BOOK TAG🍁

APPLE PICKING: A bright, shiny book on your shelf

My copy of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin has the most GORGEOUS gilded spine, and it always catches the light whenever I come into my room!

PUMPKIN SPICE: A book that everyone loved that just didn’t sit well with you

Everybody seemed to love The Space Between Worlds, but it left me wanting so much more—with such an expansive concept, I feel like there were so many more creative directions it could’ve taken, but alas…

FALL LEAF TOUR: A gorgeously written journey

I Am the Ghost in Your House not only presented an incredibly compelling piece of magical realism, but it gave us the poignant journey of Pie, an invisible girl grappling with how the world sees—and doesn’t see—her.

PUMPKIN PICKING: A book that reflects the pumpkin you always pick

My main criteria for pumpkins is just a) being light enough for me to pick up, and b) not super beaten up, so I’ll pick The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Seaa solid length, and almost flawless.

HALLOWEEN COSTUME: A book with a character whose style you admire

Asta from The Reckless Kind is not only an absolute delight in personality, but also in her cheeky sense of style—nothing like split-dyeing your hair in the 1900’s to match your heterochromia!

FALL BEVERAGE: A book that reflects your favorite fall drink

I’d probably pick hot chocolate or cinnamon tea for my favorite fall drink, even though I technically drink cinnamon tea no matter the weather. Both of them make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and the same can be said for Heartstopper!

CORN MAZE: A book you can get lost in

The expansive, colorful world of Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam is one that I love to get lost in.

HOT FOOD: A book you waited all summer to read

Alright, technically, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy came out in July, but it was on hold so long that I only got around to reading it this October. Worth the wait, though!

I TAG:

Today’s song:

welcome back to this season of sad girl autumn, I’ll be your host—

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/1/22) – I Am the Ghost in Your House

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! I hope you all had a safe and spooky Halloween!! I went to class (and took a stats test) dressed up as Columbia from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (in the pajamas and the Mickey Mouse ears), so that was a lot of fun, even though I didn’t see a bunch of other people dressed up. I guess most of the Halloween festivities happened over the weekend. Oh well.

I picked this book up on a whim while scrolling through the books on my Libby wishlist to see what was available. The cover was already eye-catching (no pun intended), but I didn’t expect for I Am the Ghost in Your House to hit as hard as it did—stunning prose and a poignant, strange story to match.

Enjoy this week’s review!

I Am the Ghost in Your House – Mar Romasco Moore

Pie and her mother have been on the run for their entire lives. They are both invisible—Pie born and her mother turned as a teenager—and have been living in other people’s houses all across America. Their lives are constantly transient, and although Pie has lived in many places, she doesn’t have a place to call home.

When her mother disappears, possibly dead, Pie is left alone. Sheltering in Pittsburgh with a group of art students, she goes in search of her missing mother and a girl she once loved. But if the girl Pie loves can never see her, how can they be together?

TW/CW: kidnapping, off-page sexual assault (past), substance abuse, absent father

For a book I picked up almost purely on a whim, this was such an emotional hard-hitter. From this alone, I’m absolutely going to seek out Moore’s other books—I haven’t read such fantastic, immersive prose in ages, and through Pie, Moore has created a truly unique protagonist and a strange world paired with her.

Moore’s prose is what stood out the most to me about I Am the Ghost in Your House. Magical realism is a hard genre to get right, and writing prose that fits with it can be half the battle, and it’s a battle that Moore absolutely won; their weaving of delicate metaphors into Pie’s voice created such a distinct atmosphere around the whole book, as though we too were nestled in lonely train cars, unable to be seen by anyone but our own kin. I read this on my Kindle, and I highlighted so many passages—Moore’s prose rarely faltered, and it was the perfect vehicle to carry this story.

The worldbuilding behind invisibility in I Am the Ghost in Your House was incredibly thought out as well! With magical realism novels like these, it’s sometimes okay to have changes to a world with little to no explanation—it adds some ambiguity to the story, and if it’s done well, it can add a charm and mystery to the world. Moore, however, has done the opposite. Without infodumping or rambling excessively, they define so much about invisibility, its origins, and more importantly, its limits, in terms that make something so fantastical seem so authentic. It feels like the kind of story that stemmed from a conversation—what would you do if you were invisible? Where would you live? What would you get away with, knowing that nobody’s watching?

Pie herself, however, was what made this novel so emotional and poignant. There’s an intense loneliness to her; after her mother disappears, she has nobody, since her father left her before she was born. Moore’s prose shapes a character with seemingly ordinary struggles—unrequited love and general uncertainty, among other things—into someone so deeply isolated, someone fighting alone, since only a handful of people can even see her in the first place. But as she develops, meeting other people and coming to terms with truths about her family, she finds closure in solace in knowing that she’s never been alone, being able to communicate with visible people and knowing that there are others out there like her.

My only problem was the paranormal investigator subplot. In contrast to how smoothly and deliberately most of the book moved, this spot near the end felt rushed and unfinished, thrown in at the last minute to add conflict where there didn’t need to be. Since it was crammed in the last 20% of the book or so, it didn’t feel like it had any place, other than providing a little more worldbuilding details on invisibility. Given what happens to Pie, the suddenness almost feels genuine, but it seemed to come more from a place of rushed writing than actual feeling.

All in all, a bittersweet and atmospheric piece of magical realism that never falters in its deeply emotional core. 4.25 stars!

I Am the Ghost in Your House is a standalone, but Mar Romasco Moore is also the author of Some Kind of Animal and the anthology Ghostographs: An Album.

Today’s song:

this song just emanates sheer power—there’s truly nothing quite like it

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!