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…
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.
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.
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
October is usually one of my favorite times of year, but this year was one of a lot of self-reflection. Last October was—and still is—a painful stretch of terrain to look back on, but I’m glad to say that I’m in a much better place now. Plus, fall!
Since last year, I’ve had lots of time to heal, and even though the particular anniversary of the most unpleasant part was rocky, I’ve had a nice month overall. October is one of my favorite times of year, what with the confluence of Halloween and all the good feelings I associate with fall, and I got to enjoy that part to the fullest. There’s been hardly any snow at all (and what little snow we had didn’t accumulate), and the leaves have been extra bright and crunchy.
I had a lot of fun this month too! I dyed my hair, I got pumpkins, I got to watch two amazing movies (Dune and The French Dispatch) in theaters, and I just got back from LA! We went to see Danny Elfman perform the soundtrack of The Nightmare Before Christmas on Friday night, which was MAGICAL. We stopped by the La Brea Tar Pits museum and Amoeba Records too, which were both amazing. Plus, even though I only got to wear it for a few minutes after getting back to the airport, my Kaz Brekker costume was a lot of fun.
As far as writing goes, I’ve been writing my other WIP on and off. I hit 100 pages recently, but I feel like it’ll be too short…plus, and I’m fighting the urge to edit my main WIP. Maybe NaNoWriMo will sort things out.
READING AND BLOGGING:
I read 18 books this month! As far as the quantity goes, it’s been my worst reading month of the year, but it doesn’t really matter. I can mostly chalk it up to a) school, b) more long books than usual, and c) at least two reading slumps, but I still read a whole lot of stuff that I’d been looking forward to. Plus, there were some single-issue comics in there too. And I’m still on track to complete my Goodreads goal, anyway.
Happy Friday, everyone! I’ll dispense from my normal greeting, as this isn’t a bookish post…
I discovered Phoebe Bridgers late last year. “Smoke Signals” was the first of her songs to capture my imagination, and it prompted me to listen to her debut album, Stranger in the Alps. Though it wasn’t without its flaws, it was gorgeously lyrical and haunting at times. So naturally, I was excited to find out that she was releasing a new album. And she released it A DAY EARLIER! It’s been about a week since its release, now, and now I can say with certainty that her sophomore album, Punisher, is a worthy predecessor that may even surpass some of her older material.
Let’s begin, shall we?
ALBUM REVIEW: PUNISHER–PHOEBE BRIDGERS
TRACK 1: “DVD Menu”–7/10
A strange and haunting instrumental prelude to the album. Woozy, with almost a fever-dream vibe, it’s almost foreshadowing for what’s to come.
TRACK 2: “Garden Song”–7/10
This was the first single to be released out of the whole album. When I first listened to it, something about it got under my skin, but as I’ve listened to it more, something about it has grown on me (no pun intended). A nostalgic, dreamlike opener to the album.
TRACK 3: “Kyoto”–9/10
One of my favorite songs off of the album! This is the perfect song for rolling your windows down in the middle of the road. Bridger’s already stunning voice never fails to give me chills in the chorus. Phenomenal.
TRACK 4: “Punisher”–9/10
Bridgers said in an interview that the album’s title track was about being a huge fan of Elliott Smith. Though I’ve barely listened to his music, everyone from Becky Albertalli to David Arnold have sung his praise. But even if you aren’t familiar with the song, you’re sure to be familiar with the feeling it evokes–that of worshipping somebody that you’ve never met, and people associating you with them. Phoebe Bridgers never fails to be able to connect to her listeners.
What if I told you
I feel like I know you?
But we never met…
TRACK 5: “Halloween”–6.5/10
Though most of Bridgers’ catalog is already more melancholy and mellow, this fails to keep up the pace kept up by “Kyoto” and “Punisher”. It’s still a decent song, but it doesn’t pack as much of an emotional punch as some of the other tracks on the album.
TRACK 6: “Chinese Satellite”–8/10
Picking up from the slight lull of “Halloween,” this track delves back into Bridgers’ signature, heart-wrenching lyricism, weaving a tale of losing yourself and wishing on false stars. Absolutely beautiful.
TRACK 7: “Moon Song”–7.5/10
A soft, drifting track that dives more into Bridgers’ more dreamlike side. A song that could simultaneously rock me to sleep and bring me close to tears, if the mood struck me.
And if I could give you the moon,
I would give you the moon…
TRACK 8: “Savior Complex”–9/10
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of this album. With lyrics that stick and a melancholy melody, this is Phoebe Bridgers at her best. Again, her voice just gives me cHILLS…
TRACK 9: “ICU” (previously titled “I See You“)–7.5/10
A catchy track that leans more into Bridgers’ poppier side. Though it teeters on going into the places that I thought “Garden Song” went when I first listened to it, it’s still a good song; not her best, but not her worst by far.
TRACK 10: “Graceland Too”–7.5/10
First of all, shoutout to Phoebe Bridgers for putting a banjo in a song that doesn’t instantly infuriate me.
With folkier instrumentation, “Graceland Too” weaves a beautiful, melancholy tale of newfound freedom and self-discovery.
So she picks a direction, it’s 90 to Memphis,
Turns up the music so thoughts don’t intrude,
Predictably winds up thinking of Elvis
And wonders if he believed songs could come true…
TRACK 11: “I Know the End”–9.5/10
A positively stunning end to the album. Laced with Bridgers’ signature lyricism, she quickly amps up the emotion, growing tense before erupting into chaotic instrumentation. The album ends with the sound of her raw screams and breathing as she seems to recover, somehow making it feel powerful and intimate all at once. The best possible song to end the album on.
Over the coast, everyone’s convinced
It’s a government drone, or an alien spaceship,
We’re not alone…
I averaged out all of my song ratings, and it came out at about a 7.9, which I’ll round up to 8. Punisher was, without a doubt, a worthy successor to Stranger in the Alps. Phoebe Bridgers has outdone herself on her sophomore album, creating something magical with her lyricism and dreamlike melodies. In short, Punisher is very nearly a masterpiece, and Phoebe Bridgers is an artist to be reckoned with.
Since this post is an album review, you can consider this whole album today’s song.
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! HAVE YOU LISTENED TO PUNISHER, AND IF SO, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
That’s it for this album review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
My obvious choice here would be the Grisha trilogy. Hands down, one of the most well-crafted, magical universes I’ve ever come across. (On an unrelated note, I’m simultaneously worried and excited to see how Netflix pulls it off…)
MUMMIES–A BOOK OR CHARACTER THAT YOU CAN’T WRAP YOUR HEAD AROUND
Wrap…I see what you did there…[ba-dum tsssss]
For this, I’d have to say Miryem from Spinning Silver. Without spoiling anything major, I’ll just say that it absolutely baffled me that her relationship with a certain character turned from forced (and borderline abusive) to perfectly happy.
VAMPIRES–A BOOK, SERIES, OR AUTHOR YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
Hmm…lots to pick from here, but the first one that comes to mind is the Heart of Iron duology. There’s so many aspects of that series that have earned it an especially soft spot with me. I really need to re-read Soul of Starssoon…
WEREWOLVES–A BOOK THAT IS BEST READ IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
I can’t quite think of any. I can only read more intense books during the daytime, and I don’t read around midnight much anyway…
Guess I’ll have to skip this one ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
ZOMBIES–A BOOK YOU PICKED UP FOR THE 2ND TIME OR CONTINUED AFTER DNFING IT
Oof, I might have to skip this one, too…
Usually, when I DNF a book, it’s because of a deep-seated loathing; this usually prevents me from ever picking up the book again, so…
GHOSTS–A CHARACTER YOU SAW RIGHT THROUGH OR A BOOK THAT YOU EASILY PREDICTED THE TWIST/ENDING
I read this one a while back, but the one thing I remember with clarity about Earth Force Risingwas that I could see all of the major plot points coming from a mile away. Dear Lord, that was such a cringey book…
FRANKENSTEIN–A BOOK THAT TRULY SHOCKED YOU
Hands down, Other Words for Smoke. I had pretty average expectations, but once I got into it, I could NOT put it down. The writing was beautiful, and there were out-of-this-world twists around every corner…
SKELETONS–A BOOK OR CHARACTER THAT CHILLED YOU TO THE BONE OR TICKLED YOUR FUNNY BONE
GHOULS–A BOOK THAT LEFT YOU HUNGRY, OR A RECIPE YOU WANT TO TRY FROM A BOOK
This one seems like a cliche answer, but my immediate choice is With the Fire on High. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to try some of Emoni’s cooking.
Okay, maybe not nothing, but you know what I’m saying. It all sounded delicious…
GOBLINS–A GREEDY CHARACTER OR A CHARACTER THAT LOVES GOLD OR JEWELRY
Though she certainly isn’t greedy, per se, Genya from the Grisha trilogy was my first thought; there’s no way that she didn’t put some bling on her eyepatch. (And every other article of clothing.)
DEVIL–A DARK, EVIL CHARACTER
This isn’t the most classic of examples, but my first thought was The Mage from Carry On. Deceitful, manipulative, and…well, y’know, the general evil that comes along with being the equivalent of a black hole for magic.
GRIM REAPER–A CHARACTER YOU LOVED OR HATED THAT DIED
I can’t think of any character or book that really scared scared me, but for this, I’ll go with Xifeng from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. I mean, you’ve got the classic, tragic hero descending into madness storyline, sprinkled in with some tyranny and eating human hearts. Y’know, just another day at the office.
I was tagged by A Little Haze Book Blog to take part in the Anything But Books Tag, and I’m so excited to participate!
Alright, let’s get started…
Name a cartoon character that you love.
Okay, technically, he was a comic character first, but Forager from Young Justice: Outsiders is absolutely precious.
What is your favorite song right now?
Ooh…hard to pick, but at the moment, I’d probably have to go with “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead. Never fails to fill every fiber of my being with emotion…
What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?
Drawing and writing, most likely. I’d add playing guitar as well, but…yeah, my fingers could not withstand playing guitar for hours. They’d never forgive me.
What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?
I love to go ALL OUT for Halloween. Whether or not I end up trick-or-treating, I try to at least wear my costume to school. I was Liz Sherman from Hellboy last year, which was super fun 🙂 I dyed my hair red and everything!
What is your favorite unneccessarily specific thing to learn about?
Cephalopod biology, hands down. They’re such a fascinating group of creatures; I have fond memories of spending an entire period in 6th grade watching a documentary on cuttlefish 🙂
What is something unusual that you know how to do?
I don’t think I have any *unusual* talents, per se, but I can kind of make a kazoo noise with my mouth…
Name something you’ve made in the last year, and show us if you can.
I just finished this up a few weeks ago! It was a 22 x 30 drawing in Prismacolor colored pencils, for my advanced art class. Recognize her? 😉
What is your most recent personal project?
I don’t have anything *super* personal, but I did pick up some watercolors after several years of not touching a paintbrush. This was the end result:
Tell us something that you think about often (especially when looking out windows).
It’s inevitable that every time I stare out a window, I drift into the recesses of my mind, where my story ideas start playing like movies.
Give us something that is your favorite, but make it oddly specific.
I love watching X-Men movies (no, duh, Sherlock), but at night, curled up in a blanket downstairs, and preferably with some snacks and in the company of my cats.
Hey, everyone, and welcome to this week’s EXTRA SPOOKY Book Review Tuesday!
[ahem] Okay, technically, it’s only extra spooky because it’s officially spooky time, but hey, we’ve gotta celebrate somehow, right?
Anyway, I’ve been waiting for this book for over a year. Ever since I read Carry On (you can read my review here), I’ve been itching for some more Simon and Baz action. And now, we’ve FINALLY GOT SOME MORE!!!
So, without further ado, let’s begin this spOOkY Book Review, fellow bibliophiles!
Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2)
Ever since defeating the Humdrum, Simon Snow has lived on in the eyes of his peers as a hero. But in reality, he hasn’t done anything heroic since then. Lethargic, unmotivated, and weary, Simon has barely ventured beyond the couch. Baz is worried, but doesn’t know what to do–until Penny magicks tickets to America.
Soon, the trio is whisked into the heart of the United States, on an unplanned roadtrip. Their travels put them in the paths of monsters and unlikely allies, but soon, their trip takes on a darker tone–Agatha, Simon’s ex-girlfriend, is in deep trouble. What started as a vacation quickly turns into a rescue mission, and soon, Simon, Baz, and Penny find themselves racing against the clock, their relationships–and magickal abilities–tested.
Let me get this straight. Wayward Son still garners 5, fangirly stars from yours truly. I absolutely loved being back in the world of Simon and Baz, and Rowell’s signature writing and quips never failed to make me smile.
But I still felt like something was missing.
I still can’t put my finger on what exactly it was, but Wayward Son, for the most part, seemed to pack less of an emotional punch that its predecessor. I’ll have to re-read it, maybe I’ll do another post.
Normally, I wouldn’t be doing an update on this one. However…no spoilers, but this bad boy ends on a cliffhanger.
Since it came out exactly a week ago, we don’t have any updates on the next books. I mean…after that, we NEED a book three. I’m just hoping and praying that it doesn’t suffer from Return of the Jedi syndrome. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it too, but…you know what I mean.
Thank you so much for reading! I’ll be back with my regular posts (as well as a few more book tags) soon! Have a spectacularly spooky rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Hey, everyone, and welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of October 2018!
That’s right, OCTOBER. IT’S OFFICIALLY SPOOKY TIME, FOLKS.
I’ve got my Halloween costume *almost* complete, and the leaves are already starting to turn yellow. Forget Christmas, this is the best time of the year.
Aaaaaanyway, this week’s book is a jaw-dropper. I borrowed it from the library and managed to gobble it all up in one sitting (whilst wrapped in a warm blanket and in a fuzzy hoodie). And OH MY GOD, IT WAS PHENOMENAL. A chilling, inventive look at the future of humanity, and the race to find a planet to colonize.
Enjoy the review!
The Final Six
Climate change is out of control, and all over the world, cities are being swallowed by floods and shattered by earthquakes. After the mission to colonize Mars failed, humanity’s next candidate for a new home is Europa. The first to colonize it? Twenty four teens with exceptional skill and intellect, drafted from all over the globe into the International Space Training Camp. As they progress in their training, some will be eliminated through a series of tasks and tests, and in the end, only six will remain.
Naomi, a budding scientist, and Leo, a championship swimmer, are two of the draftees, and they have been placed on the same team. When peculiar events cause one of their teammates to fall fatally ill, they suspect that their mentors may not be telling them everything. But can they get to the bottom of the mystery before the six are launched to Europa?
Okay, I should probably stop saying this, but I’m nothing short of shook.
The Final Six was a truly exceptional book! One minute, I was on the verge of tears, and the next, my jaw had clattered to the floor. Everything about it was truly stellar (would that be considered a pun? I hope not…)-writing, world-building, characters, and those INSANE PLOT TWISTS, OH MY GOD. I would highly recommend it not only for science fiction fans, but anyone who likes getting chills while reading.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this review, and have a great rest of your day!
(I have no idea what the heck that last one is, I just looked up “Halloween gifs” and it came up…
Weird pumpkin dude gifs aside, I’ve got a great book to review today, recommended by many friends to me and that (mostly) lived up to the hype! Enjoy!
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Max (14), Fang (14), Iggy (14), Nudge (11), The Gasman (aka “Gazzy”, 8) and his little sister Angel (6) are all hybrid experiment, consisting of 98% human genes, and 2% bird genes. Ever since they escaped The School, the place where they were created, they’ve been running for their lives, trying to survive while evading the Erasers, dangerous, wolflike hybrids determined to bring them back. But when a pack of Erasers kidnaps Angel, they must search much of the U.S., rescue her, and above all, avoid being seen by normal humans. Can they survive the dangerous trek, and get Angel back?
Like I said earlier, at least four or five of my friends read this previously, and they all LOVED (and I mean LOOOOVED) it. I would have read it sooner as well, if it hadn’t been on hold at the library for such an egregious amount of time. *fumes* Anyway, I thought it was a very creative, fun, and adventurous Book. I’ve already read book 2 (School’s Out-Forever) and I currently have book 3 (Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports) on hold. Pretty psyched! I recommend it to all of you! Yes, ALL OF YOU!
I hope you guys have a WONDERFUL Halloween, eat lots of candy, dress up in awesome costumes!
I kept my promise, here’s an actual BOOK review. I hope you loved my MASSEDUCTION review (see my last post), but we’re back to normal for now, I promise…
…well, “normal” as a relative term.
But anyway, here’s a mind-blowing, creative, and creepy book, perfect for October!
In 2042, humanity eradicated death. But there was a problem-how do we keep our expanding population in check? The answer: Scythes. The Scythedom is an organization of people assigned to kill-or “glean”, as they refer to it-people in order to keep the population under control. Teenagers Citra and Rowan have reluctantly become apprentices to the Scythedom, but they have no idea what’s in store for them. A mysterious self-gleaning and corruption are now in the midst of the Scythedom, and now Citra’s and Rowan’s apprenticeships-and lives-hang in the balance. Can the Scythedom be restored to what it once was?
WHOA. THIS BOOK. Amazing in pretty much every way. Spectacular world-building, likeable characters, intricate, well-written…I could go on, but I don’t want to annoy you to death and oversell the book. But anyway, YOU GUYS HAVE TO READ IT. NOW. SERIOUSLY.
Have a wonderful afternoon (or whatever time of day it is where you are), and I’ll be back with another BRT on Halloween!