I was tagged for the Coffee Book Tag by Elise @ The Bookish Actress! Thanks Elise!! I feel like I haven’t done a bookish tag in ages (my last tag was seasonal) so I’m glad to be doing this super cute tag! And like Elise, I adore the graphics, so I’m just going to use them, and I think they were made by Romie @ Romie We Deserve Love. And like Elise, I will also try my best to use books I’ve read recently, just so I can have some fresh answers!
a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans
Can I actually give a non-book answer? Because my perfect answer for this is the TV show Legend of the Seeker! I struggled to get into it at first; I think I watched the first episode like three times before something clicked and I kept watching and then I was obsessed! And even though it’s kind of a niche (and campy) show, the fans are super dedicated; there was a years-long fan campaign to bring the show back after it was cancelled, and the fandom (at least on Livejournal) was pretty large. Honestly, it’s a fantastic show if you’re into high fantasy; it’s two seasons of traditional fantasy tropes done with such charm you can’t help but fall in love.
a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year
I’m gonna steal Elise’s answer and go with The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, for two reasons. First, it truly is one of the most wintery books I’ve ever come across; it takes place in the dead winter in medieval Russia so it’s all gorgeous descriptions of snow and frost and cold and bundling up. Second, I really, really, really need to get to the sequel! I think I’ve been subconsciously delaying it until winter, so that I can enjoy it in its proper season? I’ve had it on my Kindle for ages and ages, since it first came out, I think. I adored the first one so I can’t imagine another reason for my delay.
a favorite children’s book
Instead of being boring and answering this with Harry Potter, I’ll give you some insight into my childhood.
First we have Scared to Death by Jahnna N. Malcolm (a husband and wife duo) about a trio of awful kids who terrorize their babysitters, until their parents find a fairly terrifying old woman named Ariadne to be their sitter. The kids are determined to scare her away, only they take things to far and end up literally scaring her to death, and she proceeds to haunt them. I read this book over and over as a kid because I loved how deliciously creepy it was.
Second is Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements, which is about Elsie, an overweight girl who has just transferred to a new school and struggles with bullies. The story is actually told from the perspective of Jenifer, who eventually befriends Elsie. As a fellow fat child, I related to this book so much, even if it’s not exactly a paragon of fat acceptance or anything like that. There’s this moment in the books hat’s stuck with me till this day – after losing a significant amount of weight, Elsie says, “I can see my shoes.” And her friends marvel that she was so fat she was unable to see her shoes when looking down. Well, friends, I have never in my life been able to see my shoes without sucking in my stomach, and to see that experience reflected in a book I was reading was rather cathartic.
a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish
My most recent answer to this would have to be The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell. Though technically not a thriller in the traditional whodunit sense, it was nevertheless a creepy and thrilling read, with a central mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. I was also enamored of the gorgeous and atmospheric writing. And a pretty great main character who you truly care about.
a book you see everywhere
I’ll go with The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. In general Black is a prolific author, but I feel like she hasn’t really been on-the-scene since her Tithe series (which I never read but also saw all over). Now, it seems like all anyone can talk about is The Cruel Prince and the upcoming Wicked King. And OwlCrate is doing a limited edition Wicked King box! Anyway, I enjoyed The Cruel Prince very much, though I didn’t fall head over heels in love with it. Very much looking forward to the sequel!
a book by an indie author (a shoutout)
Easy! One of my most recent reads was Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer! As I said in my review: “This book cleared my skin, harvested my crops, nourished my soul, and added ten years to my lifespan.” It features lesbians, fencing ladies, and demonic cults in Victorian London. It’s an absolutely wild ride from start to finish and I loved it so much yet I’ve literally never seen it talked about here or on Booktube.
However, I can’t resist also giving a shout-out to another one of my faves, When The Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen. This is such a deeply weird book, especially for YA. Like…it’s high fantasy, but with vampires? It’s really well-written and its plot actively flouts a lot of common YA tropes in some pretty unexpected ways. It’s also kind of convoluted and confusing at times but also super atmospheric? And its sequel, House of Sand and Secrets, does such a fantastic job at portraying a frayed and fractured relationship between two people. I really, really want to re-read this book soon!
a book you were expecting more from
Ha, also easy: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin. What a perfect disappointment. It was a book set up to be incredible, appealing perfectly to my tastes: lesbians in Victorian London getting to the root of mysterious disappearances. And yet it went so, so wrong. The characters were bland and boring, the writing was stilted and melodramatic, the pacing was terrible, and the plot was contrived. What a waste of a gorgeous cover and creepy title!
a book or series that was both bitter and sweet, but ultimately satisfying
I have to go with City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. It’s not every day that a book comes along and rips your heart out like that one did mine. I still remember lying on my bed, holding in a scream as I read the conclusion and wanting to tear my hair out because I didn’t have the sequel. Like, this is a book that does not play and does not hesitate to fuck with its main characters; by the end of the book the two main characters were both screwed in every way. Also, the main relationship in the book is like…your standard bad-boy-who’s-an-asshole trope which I normally hate but for some reason??? It absolutely killed me in this book?? I shipped this harder than I’ve ever shipped any book pairing ever before. But in the end it was so absolutely satisfying to read such a well-crafted fantasy book with such dense politics and plotting.
a book or series that is quietly beautiful
I read Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay in a single day, and I was sobbing on the inside by the end of it. It’s a short but atmospheric book about love and grief and friendship, aka not my usual thing at all, but there’s something about the ever so simple way it’s written that renders it heartrendingly beautiful. The entirety of it mostly takes place on a college campus during winter break, when most if not all the students are gone. The descriptions of the snowy, abandoned campus and how that is reflective of the main character’s lonely and bleak life was…so well-done. It’s just one of those things that makes you feel things so powerfully.
a book or series that makes you dream of far off places
I’m gonna give a shout-out to another indie-ish author, because a book that makes me dream of far off places is The Drowning City by Amanda Downum. The titular city, Symir, is a hybrid of various Southeast Asian cities strung together by canals. The world itself is entirely gender neutral, with woman in high ranking positions and no one batting an eye. Reading it for the first time I remember thinking what a breath of fresh air it was to read something that wasn’t your standard medieval Europe setting with Historically Accurate Patriarchy™ thrown in.
Uhhhh I’ve really only just started reading classics like…late last year? And so far I’ve had lukewarm experiences. I really want to like classics but I’m just struggling to connect with them in the same way I connect to modern-day works. There’s just such a different style of narratives in most classics that keep you at arm’s length…I’m still enjoying reading all these classics and finally being in the know, but I haven’t yet come across anything that I would deem a favorite. I’m probably gonna read Dracula next so here’s hoping that becomes a favorite of mine!