🎶 I was working in the lab, late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab, began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise… 🎶
— Bobby Pickett, “Monster Mash”
👻 Ghost: A book that haunts your memory
After much prodding by Lauren, I finally read Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin — well, back in 2019. Has it really been that long? Because I still periodically get the urge to pick it up and reread, particularly during spooky season. It’s atmospheric and creepy and definitely haunting, with compelling characters and a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
🧛 Vampire: A book that sucked you in
On paper, If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio should have been right up my alley: dark academia with emphasis on both the dark and the academia, Shakespeare as its particular brand of academia, new adulthood, a tight-knit ensemble cast. In reality, it was absolutely my cup of tea, packed full of fascinating drama (get it? Because it’s a murder story, but also it’s about theatre nerds and their theatre productions) and quotable lines.
🐺 Werewolf: A book that surprised you with a transformation (twist)
Short story and fairy tale collections tend to be hit or miss for me; The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo was a clear hit. It’s a Grishaverse tie-in, but the fairy tales stand on their own just fine, brilliantly reimagined/remixed from the source material and retold with deceptive simplicity.
🧻 Mummy: A book whose characters you want to wrap up … in warm blankets
My answer to this one is the entire Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire, honestly (but you may have noticed a theme with the covers I’ve chosen for this tag). I have a soft spot for well-written fictional (okay, and also flesh-and-blood) children going through Some Stuff — can you even imagine how rough it must be trying to readjust to normal life after experiencing the fantasy world of your wildest dreams? And the “real” world isn’t especially kind to them, either….
🪄 Witch: A book that has a magical atmosphere
It was a toss-up between The Night Circus and The Starless Sea, both by Erin Morgenstern. But The Night Circus just seemed a slightly better fit, with distinct feats of literal magic; I’ve reread it so many times yet I still get lost in the titular circus, the tragedies and triumphs of the cast, the memories I’ve personally attached to my slightly worn paperback copy.
🐈⬛ Black Cat: A book that is underrated and/or unfairly maligned
Look, I get that poetry isn’t for everyone, especially this particular format of poetry. This is my book tag, though, and I adore the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace — to the point, yes, where I think it is unfairly maligned. But I won’t go off about the dismissal of “tumblr poetry” and things associated with teenage girls. I’ll just say that I really enjoy Lovelace’s work in general, and the princess saves herself in this one is a particularly great collection comprising a compelling narrative.
🧠 Frankenstein’s Monster: A book that isn’t what it seemed
Don’t be misled by the synopsis labeling Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente a mystery. While there is an element of mystery (What happened to Severin Unck?), it doesn’t read like one: the story is really more about people and places, not just what happens to them. And there are so many more elements at play, from the “decopunk pulp sci-fi alt-history space opera” to all the different storytelling techniques. I was so awed that when I finished this one, I immediately restarted from the beginning … despite the looming menace of Mount TBR.
as always, anyone who wants to participate!
the prompts, for your convenience
- 👻 Ghost: A book that haunts your memory
- 🧛 Vampire: A book that sucked you in
- 🐺 Werewolf: A book that surprised you with a transformation (twist)
- 🧻 Mummy: A book whose characters you want to wrap up … in warm blankets
- 🪄 Witch: A book that has a magical atmosphere
- 🐈⬛ Black Cat: A book that is underrated and/or unfairly maligned
- 🧠 Frankenstein’s Monster: A book that isn’t what it seemed