I saw a few YouTubers do the A to Z Book Tag recently. I thought it looked like a lot of fun and I want to do more bookish tags for my blog. So, here we go!
Author you’ve read the most of.
The author I’ve read the most of is Meg Cabot. From middle school to high school, I was obsessed with her books. Unfortunately, I got rid of some a couple of years ago, to make space on my shelves. The ones I kept were books I could just not part with, like The Mediator series, or series I started but have not finished and I want to, like the Heather Wells Mysteries series. I would read more of her books, except I haven’t heard the best reviews of her recent publications. So, I don’t know if I will pick up any more of her books I have not already read.
For me, that is easily A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. This sequel was equal measure to the first, An Ember in the Ashes, with great storytelling and character development. A Torch Against the Night is huge, but I flew through it.
At the time I am writing this, I am 25% through Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, 20% through City of Lost Souls, book five of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, 11% through Spirit Bound, book five of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, and just starting Hallowed by Cynthia Hand.
City of Lost Souls and Spirit Bound are parts of popular series whose previous books I enjoyed as well as ones I hope to finish in 2017. Hallowed is the second book in the Unearthly trilogy, which I started in 2015 and I’m surprised I have not finished yet because I loved the first book.
Lilac Girls is a historical fiction adult novel set in America and Europe during World War II. The story follows three women: American socialite Caroline Ferriday, who works at the French consulate and becomes involved with a married French actor with his own views about Hitler invading Poland in 1939; sixteen-year-old Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish girl who becomes entangled with the underground resistance; and, lastly, German Dr. Herta Oberheuser, who becomes a physician at a Nazi women’s work camp. Where I am right now, the women have not met yet. So far, though, it is really exciting and I want to keep reading.
Drink of choice while reading.
Depending on the time of day, water or coffee. Typically on the weekends, I will have a cup of coffee with the book I am currently reading. I don’t like to eat while I read—I’m not that good at multitasking—specifically because I do not want to risk my books getting stained.
E-book or physical book?
Physical books, because I love the smell and feel of them. I own bookshelves full of hardcovers, paperbacks, and mass market paperback editions, although in recent months I have read some e-books and I’m considering branching out into Kindle.
Fictional character you would have dated in high school.
Thinking back to when I was 15 or 16, I likely would have said Derek Souza from The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong or Jacob Black from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. Another possibility is Jesse da Silva from The Mediator series by Meg Cabot.
Glad you gave it a chance.
First book that comes to mind is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I have said this before, I think, but I only picked up this book because of the hype surrounding it. I expected a romantic chick-lit story. But if you have read Me Before You, then you know it is nothing of the sort. Not only is it a beautiful emotional roller coaster of a story, it also made me think about situations and questions I never gave much thought to before.
I’m also glad I gave the Saga graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples a chance. Prior to picking these up, I had little interest in reading books told in pictures. Then, I saw the Saga comics virtually everywhere on BookTube. I can’t remember what convinced me to finally decide to give them a try. I just know that I fell in love with the characters and the artwork, and the story is the first ever in science fiction not to go over my head.
Hidden gem book.
All We Have Left by Wendy Mills is a book that does not get any of the hype it deserves. The story is based around the 9/11 terrorist attacks and follows two girls, Jesse and Alia, in alternating time periods. It contains so many beautiful quotes about hate, religion, ignorance, family, etc. The character development in both girls is some of the best I have seen in young adult literature. The author handles the subject with sensitivity, but still drives the barb home.
Important reading moment in your life.
This one was hard. But if I have to come up with an answer, an important reading moment would have to be when I was eight years old. I had finished reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume and, without warning, picked up a notebook and pencil and started writing my own novel. It was ten pages long and basically fan fiction for Dragon Ball Z, but I was proud of it. I kept up writing. I studied English and creative writing in college. It led to completing several story ideas, as well as a novella and a one-act play.
As I am writing this, the last book I finished was Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. It is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, where the character Jane Steele is a morally conflicted but ultimately good-natured serial killer and the love interest, Charles Thornfield, is ten times sexier than Mr. Rochester. While there were elements of the original story present, Jane Steele is its own novel. I dare to say I liked Jane Steele a little more than I liked Jane Eyre.
Kind of books you won’t read.
Definitely dark erotica. I’m a far cry from a prude, but I draw the line at torture porn. There are novels out in the world where sex slavery and Stockholm Syndrome are basically romanticized, where the slave falls in love with or “tames” his/her master. That does not sit well with me at all.
Examples of dark erotica:
Longest book you’ve read.
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, which is over 900 pages. You might be surprised to learn, I actually did not have to read this for school. But my friend did and when the class was done, the bookstore wouldn’t buy it back from her. I asked if I could have it.
I know I skipped some of the stories if I did not find them interesting. Only I can’t remember what I did with the book now. I hope it’s in a box in the basement, still….
Major book hangover.
I can’t recall if I ever had a “book hangover.” I’ve had reading slumps, usually around busier times in my life or I wore myself out from reading too much. If anything, reading five-star books generally spurs my reading on until I burn out.
Number of bookcases you own.
I own three bookcases, plus one floating bookshelf on my wall and two smaller shelves inside a closet space.
One book you’ve read multiple times.
Easily Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong. It’s the first of her anthology novels, centered on the werewolf men, specifically Clayton and Jeremy Danvers, from her main series, Women of the Otherworld. I haven’t read this book in years, though.
Preferred place to read.
Surprisingly, I prefer to read at the library or on the train to work. Mostly because these are the places where I have little distraction other than reading. I like reading at my desk or in my bed, but the former gets uncomfortable after a while and the latter is too comfortable. I also like reading on the sofa in my living room, even if my dad is watching soccer.
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book.
An inspiring quote: “One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” Tessa Gray from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. So many books have shaped me as a writer, a reader, and even as a person. Books are the writer’s tool to spreading a message that needs to be heard when everyone else has gone deaf.
A quote that gives me all the feels: “I love you,” he whispered, and kissed my brow. “Thorns and all.” Tamlin in A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I KNOW everyone hates him, but, even after everything that went down in A Court of Mist and Fury, this quote still pulls at my heartstrings. And I can’t be the only one that feels this way.
If I have to name a reading regret, I think I have to say Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne. It’s not that the book changed my feelings towards the original books, but it did change my feelings towards the franchise as a whole.
The Cursed Child was simply used as a moneymaker. It did not add to the story nor was it needed. Harry Potter needs to retire. His story was told and now he, along with the rest of the wizard world, need to be left alone. Harry Potter will never be forgotten because those who grew up reading his books will keeping reading them, as well as pass them down to their own children.
So, please, J.K. Rowling, stop writing Harry Potter stories.
Series you’ve started and need to finish.
The first three series I started and need to finish are The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand. I also have Library of Souls from the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children trilogy by Ransom Riggs to read. There is also The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen; I own the second book, The Invasion of the Tearling, but have not read it yet, and The Fate of the Tearling came out at the end of 2016, only I don’t own it yet.
Three of your favorite all-time favorite books.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Set in 1950s Barcelona, Spain, the story follows a young boy who becomes fascinated with a book by a mysterious author he discovered in a rare bookstore and finds his life is starting to mirror the writer’s. It was easily my favorite book of last year.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: A ghost hunter falls in love with the ghost girl he’s supposed to kill and is targeted by an evil voodoo spirit. This is another book I read multiple times in high school and have not read for years. I want to re-read it again, but I’m afraid because it could turn out to be not as good as I remember it.
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes: A severely underrated young adult novel about a girl who grows up in a cult that has her hands cut off by its fanatical leader and is later charged with his murder. While in juvenile detention and facing murder charges, she is forced to open up about her troubled past to a psychiatrist determined to help her. This book was so powerful and more people need to read it.
Unapologetic fan girl for.
If we are talking book-related, it would be Chaol Westfall from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Seriously, people, no bashing—but I still love his character and I’m so excited for his novel this fall. Dare I say it: I’m more excited for Chaol’s book than I am for A Court of Wings and Ruin. Such as, I check Sarah J. Maas’s social media multiple times a week for any updates on this book.
As for non-book related, that easily goes to Ripper Street, a BBC television show set in Victorian London. I binge-watched the seasons available on Netflix a few weeks ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. The story follows three men in law enforcement—Inspector Reid, Detective Drake, and Captain Jackson, a medical examiner—who solve crimes throughout Whitechapel while still haunted by the aftermath of the Jack the Ripper murders. Sometimes, the men are aided by Long Susan, a madam that runs a brothel in Whitechapel, and easily one of my favorite leading female characters on a TV show.
Netflix has not released the final season of Ripper Street yet and it is killing me slowly.
Very excited for this release.
Aside from the Chaol novel and A Court of Wings and Ruin, an upcoming 2017 release I am excited for is Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. A retelling of Mulan, it is a book I will try to hold off from reading right away. Most likely, though, I will give in because I love Renee Ahdieh and I love Mulan. The same goes for Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, when it comes out in the fall.
Worst bookish habit.
I sometimes DNF books out of laziness. It’s not always necessarily because I’m not enjoying the book. Sometimes, I actually do DNF books I like because they are taking too long to finish and I have too much going on to really bother.
X marks the spot—count the 27th book on your shelf.
The 27th book on my shelf is The Rising by Kelley Armstrong, the third and final book in her Darkness Rising trilogy. Ironically enough, it is my least favorite of her works. The premise is interesting enough: kids with rare supernatural powers are on the run from evil scientists that want to experiment on them. Only it is not as good as the Darkest Powers trilogy in my opinion, and it is supposed to be a companion to that series.
Your latest book purchase.
I went a little crazy in March, treating myself after landing my dream job at a library. My bank account hated my later, but it’s fine. I bought eight books in total:
Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Tales from Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman
ZZZ—book that kept you up late at night.
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova is a book that I distinctly remember straining to read by the weak light of my phone so not to disturb my college roommate while she slept soundly at two in the morning. I just had to finish it that night. I didn’t have classes the next morning and the final 100 or so pages is when the mystery was slowly starting to wrap up in the most agonizing, suspenseful way. It was worth it though.
Hope you enjoyed this tag! If you have any suggestions for me to do future tags, feel free to leave a comment down below!