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!

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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!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

August/September/October Wrap-Up? (GUESS WHO’S BACK)

Hi again, bibliophiles! Long time, no see. (write?) I’m back from the grave, and I’ll do my best to make this post coherent because I know it’s been a while. My bad.

It’s taken…a while, but I’m feeling like I’m in a good place to blog more regularly for now. College was a jarring experience to settle into, but I’m starting to get the hang of it now. Being away from home for the first time was pretty scary for the first few weeks, even though my college is relatively close to where I am, but over time, I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve gotten a nice routine, I’m liking a lot of my classes (minus the obligatory math credit 🥴), and I’m making friends and…actually socializing? There’s been a lot of fun events on campus already, and I’ve been to a lot of pride stuff (a whole bisexuality day event, complete with cookie decorating and Bohemian Rhapsody) and just recently went to my first book club meeting! Of course, there have been ups (most of the aforementioned stuff), downs (the fire alarm going off at 2 am 😀), and the outright weird (seeing somebody walk into my neighbor’s dorm in a hotdog suit), but I definitely feel like I’ve made the right decision. It’s taken a good amount of Great British Bakeoff binging, but I’m feeling good.

Since this would’ve been impossibly giant if I’d structured it like I normally structure my wrap-ups, I’ll compress it this time since a) I haven’t been able to read as much, and b) a lot of what I ended up reading from August to September ended up being re-reads (the homesickness cure?).

So, here are some highlights!

WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO LATELY:

  • So! College! I’m taking mostly English stuff for my creative writing major, so that’s been tons of fun to have that as the majority of my material. I’ve only really had tests and quizzes for my math and science credits, and my science credit is at least fun; it’s an anthropology class, so…….monke. (not to mention walking into class one time only to find that “return to monke” was actually part of the title slide of the presentation). Also, I ended up using Twitch for the first time…for the anthropology class? The professor streamed his class there because it got up to almost 100 degrees (oof) way back in September. Somehow that was where I found out about Queen Elizabeth II dying. Anyways…
  • And I’m taking a whole class! About! Comics! Ms. Marvel and On a Sunbeam and Sisters and Watchmen are on the reading list! I WROTE AN ESSAY ABOUT DR. MANHATTAN. FOR CREDIT. WHO WOULDA THUNK.
  • I saw Gorillaz in September! Easily one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Somebody described Gorillaz concerts as “a big party with Damon Albarn,” and that’s exactly what I got. They played so many of my favorites, and the joy was infectious all the way through. Admittedly, I had just gotten what turned out to be a pretty nasty cold, but being there made me forget about it completely.
a fanmade sign that damon brought onstage
a glorious fanmade sign that Damon brought onstage
  • I’m sort of obsessed with the Great British Bakeoff now… I started watching it as a comfort thing when I was still super homesick, but I just LOVE it now. It’s the perfect feel-good show! I usually watch it before I go to bed now, and I’m going through the newest season right now! (Mexican Week, though…I swear a little piece of my soul shriveled up and died every time Paul Hollywood pronounced “pico de gallo” Like That)
  • I love this campus! I got my dorm all decorated so it’s nice and homey, the hall I live in is really close to my classes, and now that it’s fall, the trees look so beautiful. It was still pretty hot for a while, but we’ve had some beautiful fall days. I went for a walk after class one day just to get coffee and take pictures of the leaves.
leaves for your viewing pleasure

College has definitely been a rocky transition, but nonetheless, it’s starting to feel familiar. It helps that the majority of my classes are more tailored to my interests and that my dorm is nice and cozy.

Since it’s taken a bit to settle in and I’ve had a good amount to read for my classes, I haven’t had quite as much time to free read. But slowly but surely, I’ve been reading more, and I’ve lurked in the library (wonderfully close to my dorm) to find stuff to read. Normally, I list off everything I’ve read for the month, but since this wrap-up encompasses three months, I’ll just narrow it down to the highlights. (Plus, most of the end of August and a good chunk of September were re-reads. I’ll include a few on there, but I don’t want an overly long list.)

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST THREE MONTHS OF READING:

Call Us What We Carry
  • Re-reading the entirety of the Aurora Cycle (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff): you all saw that coming…and yeah, my Auri & Kal print is now right above the mirror in my dorm. Bi panic from the comfort of your own home! (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Call Us What We Carry – Amanda Gorman: My brother got me this for my birthday (thank you!). I don’t regularly read poetry, but it’d be a crime to rate anything by Amanda Gorman less than 5 stars. Truly astounding. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman: This was part of a unit in my comics class about the 1986 Trifecta (this, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen), and I was absolutely floored. It’s raw, it transcends time, and it’s easily the most fleshed-out story of generational trauma that I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t an easy read, and I didn’t expect it to be in any sense of the word—Maus found me crying at least three separate times. And I’ll stand by the fact that it should be essential reading. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – Grady Hendrix: this one had been on my tbr for a little while, but it was one of the picks for book club for October, so I finally got around to reading it. I don’t read a lot of horror, but I’d say this was solid—an interesting spin on the typical perspective, and loads of all the absolutely vile body horror you’d expect from a vampire book, paired with the general horror of…cockroaches trying to crawl in your ear. (this is why I’m glad my parents moved me away from the South at a young age.) Also, pro tip—not the best book to pick up when it’s 2 AM and you can’t fall back asleep. Basically the book equivalent of “Intruder” coming on shuffle while I was trying to sleep. (Which also happened…the night I moved into my dorm, no less. Anyways.) Speaking from experience, both are better enjoyed in broad daylight. (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • The Lost Girls – Sonia Hartl: I was just looking for something campy-spooky to tide me over, and I didn’t expect to like it this much! Spooky and campy it was, and who doesn’t enjoy a team of queer vampires from different time periods hunting down the man who turned them? It got strangely existential at times, which was more than a little jarring, but it was the perfect queer book for spooky season. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons: again, part of my assigned reading for comics class, but this was my second time around reading it. I was ready to not like it when I first read it, chiefly because 95% of the characters were just the most despicable, horrendous, vile characters known to man (which I still stand by, and I still think that a lot of readers sadly didn’t recognize), but it all came around in the last few chapters. Reading it a second time really allowed me to absorb all the details (nothing gives you that sense of “big brain time” like finding every little smiley face and blood-spatter shape hidden in the background), and it made me realize all over again how skilled Alan Moore is at creating a world; I can’t think of another piece of media that realizes its world as fully as Watchmen‘s does. There’s a reason this one is a classic. Now I’m tempted to rewatch the show… (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
if this panel didn’t make your jaw fall to the floor, you’re lying
  • A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot, #2) – Becky Chambers: the queen of quiet, feel-good sci-fi does it again! I had this one on hold for a while after I finished A Psalm for the Wild-Built, and I’m glad to say that book 2 was just as tender, sweet, and warm-and-fuzzy as its predecessor. This one’s another one that got me choked up, but in an entirely different way—who knew that a robot holding a baby for the first time would make me so emotional? We love Mosscap in this house. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • I Am the Ghost in Your House – Mar Romasco Moore: never thought that a story about an invisible bisexual girl would hit me this hard, but here we are. I picked this one up entirely on a whim, and for the most part, it floored me—incredible prose and well-thought-out in every aspect, I Am the Ghost in Your House is the perfect example of the sheer potency of magical realism. I’m gonna try review this one soon…hopefully I can keep my promise there. Either way, I’d highly recommend it. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

And because it wouldn’t be a Bookish Mutant post without it…

WHAT I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO FOR THE LAST THREE MONTHS OR SO:

Chances are, I’ll probably permanently associate this one with walking to class for the first few weeks of school. Infectiously joyous and catchy.
Petition to slip this into some kind of X-Men project solely because of the title? Anyways, also a “walking to class in August” kind of song, but a weird juxtaposition of calmly walking to the library whilst Joe Talbot screams “I PUT HOMOPHOBES IN COFFINS” in my ears. Love me some IDLES.
I’m not usually the biggest Love & Rockets fan, but this just hooked me instantly—it feels so intoxicatingly trip-hop, so smooth and catchy. According to my brother, the whole album is generally in this vein, so I’ll definitely listen to it at some point.
I’ve said before that Kate Bush is generally hit or miss for me, but when she hits me, she hits me. I’ve realized now that I think I just like earlier Kate Bush better—I ADORE this and “Wuthering Heights,” and I’ve been a fan of most everything I’ve heard off of Lionheart as well. But this…THIS. It’s got such a contagious groove, so reminiscent of David Bowie but also just pure Kate Bush doing her thing. Music video notwithstanding, this one’s a gem.
Dry Food was a no-skip album all the way through! This one was my favorite, though—”Molly” is where this quality shows up the most, but I love how Palehound’s songs aren’t afraid to unravel themselves, completely tearing the structure apart by the end of the song. Plus, who doesn’t love a king-sized dose of fuzzy guitars?
Nothing like a heady dose of bright, bubbly, 70’s pop to brighten the mood. It’s a walking-to-class song, it’s a dancing-alone-in-your-dorm song, it’s a sitting-down-and-doing nothing song, it’s good for everything.
…do I really need to explain this one? Come on.
Last one, I promise, and what a left turn that was from Parliament. Oops. (Rare glimpse into my shuffle?) Chilling, atmospheric, and classic Danny Elfman to the core, it’s easy to see where Big Mess came from after this.

This is probably a good place to cap it off, so here we are. I think I’m in a place where I can return to a semi-consistent version of my old schedule; I’ll definitely try and do my weekly reviews, at the very least, but I’m feeling a lot more settled in than I was when I last posted. Hope you’re all doing well, and lots of love to all of you. And more importantly—happy Halloween! 🎃

Today’s song:

YEEAAAAAAAAH THAT’S RIGHT HAPPY HALLOWEEN FELLAS

That’s it for this monstrously large wrap-up! It’s good to be back. Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and have a safe and spooky Halloween! 🧛🏼‍♀️