The Wanderlust Book Tag

by - March 05, 2020

I wasn't tagged but I saw this list from The Orangutan Librarian and wanted to do it too!


  • Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
  • Tag 5+ friends

Secrets and lies: a book set in a sleepy small town

Small, sleepy towns make for the best settings (even if I find them boring in real life). Four books instantly came to mind, and each one will appeal to a different reader.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca is an adult enemies to lovers contemporary romance between a grumpy English teacher and an English major dropout. It takes place in a Renaissance Fair of a small town... a place where there are no secrets!

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the dark side of secrets and lies. A Dark-Adapted Eye and Sharp Objects are both adult psychological thrillers/crime novels. They are absolute classics, and have the advantage of being female-driven. Small towns seem cozy on the outside, but they have a sinister underbelly... Both novels investigate how crimes and drama unfold through the generations.

Lastly, The Wicked Deep, a YA contemporary with a magical realism bent. This novel takes place in an isolated island where boys are drowned by vengeful ghosts once a year. It's slow paced, with luscious prose, a simmering romance, and lots of small town solitude and mystery. There's no other author like Shea Ernshaw. Her settings are characters in themselves.

Salt and sand: a book with a beach-side community

Here there be dragons: a book with a voyage on the high seas

I'm not usually a fan of pirate stories or ocean adventure books but these two have the benefit of being enemies to lovers novels too! To Kill a Kingdom is a gritty YA dark fantasy retelling of The Little Mermaid. It's got blood and guts and gore galore. Meanwhile, The Abyss Surrounds Us is a YA sci-fi with a F/F romance between a pirate and a monster tamer. With concepts like that, I don't mind riding on the high seas.

Tread lightly: a book set down a murky river or a jungle

The bulk of Not Even Bones takes place in the Amazon rainforest, a setting that's just as deadly as the monsters that Nita is running from. Unfortunately, she spends most of her time indoors, so her interactions with the forest are limited. But it's memorable when she finally steps outside and there is a dangerous river scene too!

Frozen wastes: a book with a frost bitten atmosphere

As a native of a tropical country, I've barely experienced winter. Maybe that's why I'm so fascinated by it. Winterwood and The Bird and the Nightingale both take place during harsh winters, and the weather becomes its own character and plot point (in The Bear and the Nightingale... Winter is literally a character!) In Winterwood, the intense snowfall traps everyone inside their small town, even though a boy has been murdered and our witch protagonist has to solve the crime. Winter is described with such a delectable, deadly beauty that it makes me wish I could experience it too.

The boonies: a book with ruff or isolated terrain 

Rough and isolated terrain automatically makes me think gothic. Foggy moors, wolves howling under moonlight, stormy waves crashing against rocky shores... As you read a gothic novel during a rainy day, you sometimes wish you were a plucky heroine solving a supernatural mystery too.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is classic rough, isolated terrain with a mystery! But if you prefer fantasy, then check out House of Salt and Sorrows. It's a YA fantasy retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Annaleigh's sisters are murdered one by one, and she has to solve the mystery to stop it. This novel exudes creepy gothic atmosphere. There's a seaside mansion, a mistrustful small town, and magical parties hidden inside rocky caverns. Plus, some cosmic horror to boot.

Under the Pendulum Sun is an adult fantasy novel about two siblings trying to evangelize the fae. The fae world is eerie and nonsensical. It doesn't help that our protagonist Catherine, in true gothic fashion, is locked into a creepy castle surrounded by dangerous fog. As she tries to search for her missing brother, she uncovers the journals of the missionary who lived there before... the man who went mad and vanished...

Hinterlands and cowboys: a book with a western-esque setting

Look lively: a book set across sweeping desert sands

These are two completely different kinds of novels, but the desert is at the heart of them both. We Hunt the Flame is a YA Arabian fantasy with an enemies to lovers romance. The Woman in the Dunes is a claustrophobic literary novel about a researcher who gets stuck with a woman who lives inside a sand pit. But their descriptions of the desert are both haunting. The desert is frightening in its vast desolation. The heat sticks to your skin, bakes you dry, and drags you down. The sand dunes threaten to swallow you whole.

Wild and untamed: a book set in the heart of the woods

The woods in Uprooted and Wilder Girls were once lush and life-giving, but now they've grown rotten and corrupted. These woods are out for flesh and blood. In Uprooted, the trees feed and trap humans inside. In Wilder Girls, animals are mutated and roots grow inside human bodies. Of course, Uprooted is much lighter than Wilder Girls' horror -- eventually Agnieszka saves the forest and becomes its protector -- but both of them have treated the environment like its own hulking, awesome villain. I wouldn't want to be caught in either of these woods, day or night.

Wildest dreams: a whimsical book shrouded in magic

When you say "whimsical", Dianna Wynn Jones automatically comes to mind. Howl's Moving Castle is a modern classic. If you enjoyed the Ghibli movie, then you should give the book a shot! This is a lovely Edwardian Era-esque world where scarecrows come to life, vain wizards run away from their duties, and houses leap across plains. Most fantasy worlds are dangerous and gritty, but this is one universe I'd love to live in.


What about you? What books have piqued your wanderlust? I couldn't answer all the questions but maybe you can!

You May Also Like