SHANIAC: A BOOK YOU DON’T THINK IS DESERVING OF ITS HYPE
Vicious by V.E. Schwab — Don’t get me wrong; I think this is a good, solid book. I enjoyed reading it. But man, folks talk about this book like it’s the second coming of Jesus. It’s…not. It’s just a decent book, one fraught with a good amount of issues, if I might add.
BOOGARA: A BOOK THAT CHILLED YOU TO THE CORE
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell — I don’t really get “chilled to the core” by books, but this book came really, really close. It was such a good October read. It genuinely inspired feelings of not only fear, but despair, and what’s a horror novel without some existential despair, hmm?
SHITFISH: A BOOK YOU’RE NOT SURE WHERE YOU STAND ON
Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi — This was a weird book for me, because on so many levels it was just Not My Thing: it was character-driven, it was slow-paced, and it was essentially plotless. But it was also really cleverly written, it was humorous, and I connected to its main character on a very deep level. So, I don’t know.
HEY THERE DEMONS, IT’S ME, YA BOI: A BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP AT NIGHT
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin — I’m going a bit retro here with this answer, but I can still distinctly remember staying up until 4AM to finish this book because I was so heavily invested and simultaneously frustrated. I kept thinking this book was a psychological thriller instead of a supernatural one and so I kept waiting for the wrong kind of payoff and the whole thing ended badly. But damn, was that book hella addictive.
(WHEEZE): A BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber — You wouldn’t think the story of a 19-year-old prostitute in 19th-century London would be the one to make you laugh out loud, but this book is hilarious, both in the dark comedy sense and in the, well, regular comedy sense. The entire narration is so tongue-in-cheek.
MOTHMAN: A HYPED FAVE
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty — What can I say. I freaking loved this book. It’s another one that kept me up at night. I don’t even like the Brooding Warrior trope and yet by the end of this book I was in love with Dara, a self-admitted war criminal. That’s just how damn good this book is. And that’s not even to mention the complex politics here. I’m so excited to re-read this in preparation for the sequel!
HOLY WATER: A BOOK YOU’D PROTECT WITH YOUR LIFE
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff — This book is super popular, but it also gets some polarizing reviews due to the writing style and its use of footnotes, but I would lay down my life for this book. It’s such good fantasy. Yeah, okay, the writing style can be a little weird sometimes, but it’s not nearly as bad as some of the top-rated Goodreads reviews make it out to be, and the worldbuilding more than makes up for it.
DEMONS: A BOOK YOU’RE TOO SCARED TO READ
Affinity by Sarah Waters — Here’s the thing. I’ve only read a single Sarah Waters book and yet somehow I own every single thing she’s ever written. I liked the one book of hers that I read, but I didn’t love it, and there’s a part of me that’s scared I won’t like her other work. This book in particular seems right up my alley – a Victorian Gothic thriller about a wealthy woman who visits an imprisoned female occultist. It’s supposed to delve into all things Victorian spiritualism which is one of my favorite topics ever, but I’m just so nervous that I won’t like it, so I’ve been avoiding it.
BUT FOR NOW, THIS MYSTERY WILL REMAIN… UNSOLVED: A BOOK YOU NEEDED MORE FROM / DIDN’T WANT TO END
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao — It’s not that I didn’t want this book to end, because I didn’t really love it all that much. It’s that I wanted more from its ending. This book has one of the worst-written endings I’ve ever seen. Literally, the entire book is building up to a particular climax and resolution, and then – the books ends without showing us that resolution. It just…ends, leaving you completely unsatisfied.
The Beautiful Ones by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia — Now this is a book I didn’t want to end. I loved being so immersed in this lovely, quaint world Moreno-Garcia created. Even more, I loved the characters and their interactions. I would absolutely love a sequel!
BUZZFEED UNSOLVED POSTMORTEM: A BOOK YOU STILL HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy — This is probably a weird answer, but I finished this book with so many burning questions about my two faves, Anatole and Helene. They’ve got this super dramatic backstory, Anatole especially – he’s forced to marry a Polish girl at some point, but he keeps her a secret and I guess pretends she doesn’t exist. He’s got this super close relationship with his sister that people think is incestuous. Helene herself is an absolute icon. Yet where is all that juicy drama? Nonexistent, scrapped in favor of tedious descriptions of military formations and battle sequences.
HOT DAGA: A TRASHY FAVE
Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelley Hall — I mean, I don’t like thinking of any of my faves as “trashy” but I guess this comes closest to what that’s supposed to mean? I read this back in 2013 in like four hours and I distinctly remember it being heavy on the atmosphere. It takes place in a small, seaside New England town and I feel like there’s something to do with witchcraft as well but I barely remember. I should re-read this book at some point.
HOLLY HORSLEY: A FAVOURITE CRIME/THRILLER BOOK
The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia — I read this with a different title (Everything You Want Me To Be) and a different cover, but I think I like this new rebranding better, though I was fond of the former title. This is a very classic, straightforward thriller in many ways – beautiful teenage girl murdered in act that shocks small town! But I loved it nonetheless. I read it in one sitting and thought the student/teacher relationship was well-written.
RICKY GOLDSWORTH: A CHARACTER YOU LOVE WITH YOUR ENTIRE BEING BUT THEY COULD POTENTIALLY WANT TO KILL YOU
And I Darken by Kiersten White — Lada Dracul is such a goddamn badass. I mean, when meeting someone for a potential arranged marriage, she says this: “On our wedding night, I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.” Beat that. So yeah, Lada obviously has no qualms about killing, and she may or may not be a little bit psychotic, but I adore her.
THE GHOUL BOYS: YOUR FAVOURITE BUZZFEED UNSOLVED EPISODE
I’m a new convert to the Church of Buzzfeed Unsolved, and I’m not a devoted convert either. I enjoy it very much, but I watch it super casually, and I’m definitely not a big enough fan to pick a favorite episode. But this show gave us the line “hey there demons, it’s me, ya boy” and has therefore earned my everlasting respect.