What Makes Me Pick Up a Book? | Book Tag

I found this lovely tag over at Books and Dachshunds and wanted to try it! This is all about my habits when it comes to books, book covers, and what makes me interested in them. This is a topic I love talking about at length with friends, so I was excited to see these questions.

1. Do you judge a book by its cover?

Absolutely, but only if I’ve never heard of it. If someone is holding up the cover, or says they love the book first, the cover doesn’t matter. If it’s me discovering the book, the impressions I get on the cover convince me whether I should read the synopsis or not.

2. Focusing on just the cover, what attracts you to pick it up?

I’m mostly easy to please, but I don’t think photographs are done well all the time, especially when it comes to a specific character. I don’t typically want to see that character’s face on the book.

3. Do you read the synopsis first, or do you prefer to go in knowing nothing about the book?

I like going in blind. I want to know as little as possible. Most of the time this works out really well, but sometimes it totally backfires and I end up thinking something is a completely different genre than it is.

4. Do you have any auto-buy authors?

Yes! V.E. Schwab, Grady Hendrix, Riley Sagar, Sylvain Neuvel are my current favorites.

5. Are you more likely to buy a book if it has specific elements/themes?

Sometimes. I’m more of a genre-reader than a trope/theme reader, with the exception of thrillers. I like family dramas, or revisiting the past in the “modern gothic” sense when it comes to those.

6. Do you ever read a book that has generally negative reviews just to form your own opinion on it?

Oh absolutely, though most of the time I tend to agree with the reviews themselves. I read reviews from the people I follow/am friends with the most, because I know whose reading tastes are most similar to my own.

7. Do you ever buy a book just because another booktuber/blogger has talked about it a lot?

That’s the main reason that I read people’s blogs and watch their videos! I like watching people with similar interests to me, so when they recommend something I typically add it to the TBR. Most of the time I already have them on my radar.

8. Is there anyone who’s book recommendations you always trust?

I love watching Kayla at Books and Lala, Noelle Gallagher, Jesse at Bowties and Books, and Ariel Bissett.

That’s the end of this tag! Definitely check out all of the amazing channels/blogs linked! Consider yourself tagged if you’d also like to play along.

 

Mid-Year Freakout Tag! | 2020

It’s a bit past where I typically do this tag, but better late than never I guess? With all of the craziness in the world, my Monday posts took a bit of a break, but I’m hoping to get them back on schedule soon. Here’s my wrap-up for June:

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal-El Mohtar and Max Gladstone
★★★★☆

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey
★★★★☆

And now I have the questions for the Mid-Year “Freakout” Tag!

Best book you’ve read this year?
This question is actually pretty hard because I don’t feel like I’ve read anything that I absolutely adored yet (which is a bit disappointing). I loved The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers a lot.

Best sequel you’ve read in 2020? 
The Toll by Neal Shusterman was a fantastic ending to a great series. I highly recommend this series, especially because I think it’s one that does a great job of being a YA that speaks to adults as well as teenagers.

New release you haven’t read yet but want to?
Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence! It’s the third book in the series, so I have to read the second one first before I get to it, but I’m excited to finish out the trilogy.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is my most highly anticipated book of the year.

Biggest disappointment?
Bunny by Mona Awad was disappointing in my opinion, though I like it more in retrospect than I did when I first read it.

Biggest surprise?
The Handmaid’s Tale! I’m very reluctant to read classics, but this is making me reconsider going back to some that I read in school and giving them another chance.

Favorite new to you or debut author?
So far, Celeste Ng has been my favorite new to me author. I really liked Little Fires Everywhere, and want to go back and read some of her older titles.

Newest favorite character?
Candace Chen from Severance by Ling Ma. This book only got a 3/5 for me at the time, but in retrospect I think about this book nearly every day (especially with everything going on in the world.)

Book that made you cry?
None so far!

Book that made you happy?
This is How You Lose the Time War was fantastic, and so light and enjoyable, especially after such a long pause on reading.

Favorite book-to-film adaptation?
I haven’t seen any so far this year.

Favorite post you have done this year?
I liked my Author Spotlights from earlier this year, I’m hoping to bring those back later in the year.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought this year?
I finally got myself a copy of Monster, She Wrote edited by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson, which I’m working my way through. I love the art style and colors of that book.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Thanks for asking! I have a few left

  • A Darker Shade of Magic (series) by V.E. Schwab
  • Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
  • The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

Thanks so much for reading! I’m excited to see what I get to this month and for the rest of the year. 

-Siobhan

Disney Book Tag

I figured that everyone could use a break from some heavier content, and a book tag might be a good way to break some of that up. This is the Disney Book Tag! I discovered it through searching, and I’m not sure who the original creator of the tag was. The rules are fairly simple: pick a book that matches each prompt.

The Little Mermaid –
A character that is out of their element, a “Fish out of Water”.

The first thing I thought of was the main character from The City of Brass, who’s plucked from obscurity on the streets of Egypt and thrown into a magical world she never knew existed. This is a series I really need to get back into before the finale comes out this summer.

Cinderella –
A character that goes through a major transformation.

I would make the argument that the main character of Horrorstör goes through a very major transformation. Not physically in appearance, but definitely in mindset. I think about this book a lot, and it’s the Grady Hendrix novel that has stood out the most to me in retrospect.

Snow White –
A book with an eclectic cast of characters.

The main group of characters in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is one of my favorite sets of characters, so this one has to go to them.

– Sleeping Beauty –
A book that put you to sleep.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. Not my cup of tea. I know a lot of people really like this kind of stylized writing, but I find it extremely boring.

The Lion King –
A character that had something traumatic happen to them in their childhood.

Is this every book ever? Maybe it’s because I read a lot of thrillers, but this seems like the plot of most of them. The one that comes to mind is The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, which follows a (now adult) woman who was present when all three of her bunkmates went missing at summer camp as a kid.

– Beauty and the Beast –
A beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful.

This one is easy – The Name of the Wind. I was extremely intimidated by the size of this book, but ended up absolutely loving it. As soon as the third book has a release date I’ll jump into the second one, because I really liked this world.

Aladdin –
A character that get’s their wish granted, for better or for worse.

I guess this could be spoilers, but this would be the plot (kind of) of the Wayward Children series, specifically the later books (end of Every Heart a Doorway, and then the continuation in Come Tumbling Down)

Mulan –
A character that pretends to be something or someone they are not.

This goes to The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. For spoiler-related reasons, I won’t get into why or who this relates to, but I really enjoyed the twist at the end of this book related to this exact concept.

– Toy Story –
A book with characters you wish would come to live.

I really liked the cast of the Arc of a Scythe series, and while I wouldn’t want the world that they live in, I really enjoyed the characters themselves, and how lifelike they already were.

Disney Descendants –
Your favorite villain or morally ambiguous character.

This would be either of the main characters from V.E. Schwab’s Vicious/Vengeful series. Both of them are extremely morally ambiguous, and the books are a great exploration of that.

I hope you enjoyed those quick prompts for books that I’ve read. I’ll have another review this Friday, as well as an author spotlight next Monday.

-Siobhan

Creatures of the Night Book Tag

I haven’t done a book tag since last June when I did the Mid-Year Freakout Tag and I’ve been itching to do another one. Since I now have the availability of my Monday posts, I found a few tags which have interested me that I’ll be posting over the next few months.

This is the Creatures of the Night Book Tag, which was created by katytastic on YouTube. I saw it adapted for blogs from Dreamland Book Blog, who posted it a really long time ago. The tag gives different popular monsters which appear in books/media, and I’ll pick my favorite from the ones I’ve read.

– Werewolf –
Is it weird that the only books I’ve read with werewolves are Harry Potter and the Twilight books? I tried looking into some other books which might interest me and include these moonlight shapeshifters, but I haven’t found anything quite yet. I’ll keep my eye out! For now I guess I’ll choose Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban?

– Zombie –
Severance by Ling Ma has stuck with me since I read it last month. Even though at the time I only gave the book three stars, I find myself thinking about this book all the time, and I definitely think it’s the best zombie book that I’ve read.

– Witch/Warlock/Spellcaster –
I really don’t want to also choose Harry Potter for this, though that is my favorite. I’m going to say Red Sister by Mark Lawrence because that’s one of the only other books that I’ve read which includes some spell casting, I suppose? I loved the finale of this series and I’m super excited to continue reading more of Mark Lawrence’s previous and future series.

– Fairy/Fae –
I know that this is a more prominent part of the sequel to this book, but since I haven’t read that one yet I’m going with the only book I’ve read where this is mentioned which is The Name of the Wind. I really want the third book to get a release date so that I can re-read the first and finally get to the second book. It was one of the best books I read a few years ago, and I’ve been waiting to dive into the rest of the series for what feels like forever.

– Demon –
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is a no-brainer. We knew at least one Hendrix novel was going to make it onto this list, and it had to be the first one I read from him. I can’t thank the staff at my local Barnes & Noble enough for the recommendation of this book, because it reintroduced me to horror in a huge way and has led me down genre paths I never would have explored otherwise.

– Angel –
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor was one of the first series I read when I was seriously getting back into reading, and it’s probably the series I recommend the most. Full of angels, demons, and everything in between, I loved the mystical element and the setting of this book.

– Alien –
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green was a really interesting alien novel to me which plays into the culture of viral videos and dealing with that level of internet fame. I really liked this book when it originally came out, and the sequel is one of my most highly anticipated books of the year.

– Superpowered Human –
Vicious by V.E. Schwab is the most perfect representation of this type of monster. The characters in this book turn themselves into superheroes for a college project, and the rivalry between the two is unparalleled in any other book I’ve read so far. Though this was originally a standalone, a sequel came out last year and another is planned for next yer. I’ll read anything that V.E. Schwab writes, so I’m extremely excited for that as well.

– Vampire –
For the final two monsters on this list, I wanted to mention two books that have these monsters and that I’m looking forward to reading. Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix comes out in April, and it’s easily my most highly anticipated book of the year.

– Ghost –
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is a classic horror novel and one which I’m really eager to get to as I try and visit the roots of the genre. In reading recommendations, this is one of the most quintessential ghost stories written by one of the best horror writers ever.

That’s the end of the Creatures of the Night Book Tag. I really enjoyed trying to figure out which of these creatures I’ve read and which I need more of in my life (looking at you, ghosts and werewolves…) As I continue to read horror and thriller novels in the future I think I’d like to revisit this tag to see how my answers have changed.

-Siobhan

Harry Potter Spells Book Tag

It’s the beginning of August, which means yesterday was my birthday! I turned 24 this year, and to celebrate that I wanted to do a fun reading tag. Since it was recently Harry’s birthday as well, I figured that the Harry Potter Spells Tag would be the perfect one to do. I found this tag at Kimberly Faye Reads who I believe is the creator of the tag. Please check out her blog as well!

– Accio –
An upcoming release you wish you could get your hands on right now

This one is absolutely Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I read Strange the Dreamer near the end of 2017 and I’ve been anticipating this book ever since. The cover is beautiful, and I can’t wait for it to appear on my doorstep at the beginning of October. I have vacation time lined up at the beginning of that month as well, and this is going to be a book that I absolutely devour over the course of that vacation. 

– Alohomora –
Favorite series starter

Staying on the Laini Taylor train, this is going to go to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This book is an amazing entrance into this world of monsters. I love the way she writes, and this book propelled me into the rest of the trilogy easily. Karou is a great character with so much depth, and all of the rest of this cast were lovely and kept me coming back to the rest of the series. I would read this series again in a heartbeat.

– Cheering Charm –
A book that gave you all the warm fuzzies

This question was actually pretty hard, but I finally decided on Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. I listened to the audiobook for this and had an absolute blast listening to her read it. I love audiobooks read by the author, because I think it gives such a powerful voice to the page. Hearing her read her own words out loud was bittersweet, and I definitely recommend this one.

– Aguamenti –
A book that made you ugly cry

Without a doubt this is Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. I talked about this a little bit in my mid-year book freakout post, but I read this book earlier this year and it absolutely destroyed me. I’d never found myself so represented in a book, and seeing the way my anxiety manifests written down on a page was a lot to handle. I read the whole book in one day and cried for the entirety of that day.

– Expectro Patronum –
Bookish hero or heroine you want around to protect you in real life

This is such a bizarre question. I guess that I’d go with Dara from City of Brass. He’s a badass, and even though this book is apparently pretty divisive, I really enjoyed it and cannot wait for the sequel.

– Lumos –
Book you intentionally spoiled for yourself

I don’t think that I’ve ever intentionally spoiled a book for myself, outside of possibly seeing a movie before learning that it was a book and then reading it afterwards. I’ll choose a book that I did that with. The only things that I could think of, honestly, was A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I read the first book after watching the first season of the TV show, so I knew exactly what was going to happen the whole time. To be honest, I’m not sure that I would have gotten through the book if I hadn’t.

– Imperio –
A book you wish you could make everyone read because you loved it so much

I thought a lot about this one, and I decided to go with Vicious by Victoria Schwab. I find myself thinking about this book over and over again, and I’m glad that I read it only a few months before the sequel comes out. I don’t know how people have waited so long to read the next one, because it’s killing me.

– Engorgio –
A book or series you wish never ended

This goes to Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. I know that there’s a sequel coming out (at some point) but I loved the second book so much more than the first one and really didn’t want it to end. There was so much cool character development in this series, especially with the artificial intelligence itself. 

– Wingardium Leviosa –
A book with an uplifting ending or message

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. This book was deceptively small and had a pretty powerful punch. It was really tough to get through at some points because of how accurate it felt, but it had such a great underlying message that I really enjoyed my time reading it.

– Obliviate –
A book you wish you could forget you ever read

This is the easiest question to answer. The Circle by David Eggers. The more I think about this book, the angrier I get. It was condescending and annoying. The only reason that I finished it was because I wanted to watch the movie (which ended up being even worse, somehow). I wish I could take back the whole experience.

– Anapneo –
An author whose books always get you out of a slump

Wow, this one was really tough. I feel like I don’t have a go-to author when this happens because I’m such a mood reader. I also don’t have a tendency to re-read novels. I guess the closes thing that can come to this is J.K. Rowling since those are the books that I’ve re-read the most in my life. As I read more of her work though, Victoria Schwab seems to be an author that I’m going to gravitate to, and I have a lot of her catalogue to get through.

– Jelly-Legs Jinx –
A swoon-worthy hero or heroine

I’ve never really been in love with a book character, it’s not something that I typically feel. I guess that the character that I would want to be real the most would be Vincent from the Themis Files Series by Sylvain Neuvel. Vincent is smart, hilarious, and wants what’s best for his family. Plus his knees are backwards, what’s better than that?

– Aresto Momentum –
A book that caused you to stop doing all other things until you finished it

This is a tie. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is the first I’d choose for this. For the size of this book, I read it fairly quickly, most of it happening on a single day. I found myself totally lost in this world. I have the sequel ready to go, but I have a few other books that I want to read before I get to it. For the second, it’s going to I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

– Crucio –
A book that was painful to read (for whatever reason, or broke you)

This book wasn’t painful to read, but it was definitely a struggle to get through. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer was not my cup of tea. I found the whole thing very vague and did not enjoy it very much. I read half of the sequel, which was the same way, and ended up not completing it.

– Rictusempra –
A book that had you laughing out loud

This goes to a book I read a really long time ago and that’s John Dies at the End by David Wong. This book is hilarious, and was one of the books that helped me rediscover a love for reading when I was a teenager. I definitely need to get back to this series and read the sequels.

– Expelliarmus –
A book that made you want to send it flying

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen. I was so excited for this book. It has all the things I love in a fantasy: sand, elemental magic and a female protagonist. I got maybe three chapters into the book and had to put it down because of the way it was written. I couldn’t do it, and I was so frustrated about it. So far, this is my only DNF of 2018 and I’m pretty upset about it. I might give it another shot, it’s currently on my bookshelf taunting me. I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t do it.

– Portus –
A bookish world you wish you could visit

I would love to visit the world in Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which is the second book in the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. I liked the darkness and science of this world, and how it filled in information from the first book. This world had the same spooky quality that I imagine Bram Stoker’s Dracula having, with pitchforks and a constant overcast sky.

– Stupefy –
A book wish a shocking twist or ending

Though not entirely surprising, I really enjoyed the reveal in The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. Without spoiling it, I thought that the way that the book was written helped keep this reveal a secret until the very end, and I thought it was absolutely fantastic. This is a thriller with a lot of references to older black and white movies, and I highly recommend it.

– Avada Kadavra –
A character death which destroyed you

Since this is a Harry Potter tag, I had to include one answer about Harry Potter. (Also, I didn’t want to spoil a major character death for a different series). For me it was Snape. I must have cried for hours over his death. I don’t know why, but my 16 year-old self couldn’t handle the fact that he had this constant internal struggle between helping Harry because he was Lily’s son and hating him because he was James’ son. This destroyed me.

– Finite Incantate –
Best series conclusion

I’m terrible at finishing series, but I have to give this to another Laini Taylor book, which is Dreams of Gods and Monsters. This is the third book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, and it had such a great and satisfying ending. I think that this is probably one of my favorite fantasy series of all time, and I loved the last book more than the first two.

Thank you so much for reading through that, if you did. I had a lot of fun making this post for my birthday!

Mid-Year “Freakout” Tag

It’s the end of June, which means that we’re halfway through the year. I saw this tag floating around some book blogs, though I saw it first on Books and Dachshunds, so check out her post as well!

As it currently stands, I’m 5 books behind in my goal of 52 books this year. I guess those few weeks (months…) that I took off from reading really didn’t help, did they? I’m working to get on track, and based on how far ahead I was at the beginning of the year, I think I’ll be on track to finish at 52 for the year.

So far I’ve read 19 books, with a wide range of non-fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, young adult and poetry. I’m pretty proud of the wide range of genres that I’ve read so far, and it’s a trend I’m hoping to continue through the rest of the year.

I don’t usually to tags, so this should be a lot of fun!

Best book you’ve read this year?
We’re starting with a tough question already? Oy. A lot of the books that I’ve read so far this year have been really good. I think that I’m going to give this to Vicious by V.E. Schwab, because it’s the one that’s freshest in my mind and I really really enjoyed it. (Check out my review!)

Best sequel you’ve read in 2018? 
This goes to Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman without a doubt.

New release you haven’t read yet but want to?
I’ve been itching to read Children of Blood and Bone since it came out, and I think that I’m finally going to get to it in July.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
This one is tied between Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

Biggest disappointment?
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. I did not enjoy this world.

Biggest surprise?
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie! I learned this year that I need to read more mysteries!

Favorite new to you or debut author?
Pretty much everything that I read this year was a new-to-me book. I’ll give this to V.E. Schwab. She has such a lengthy list of books that she’s written that I have a lot of backtracking to do now that I’m acquainted with her style.

Newest favorite character?
Eliza from Eliza and Her Monsters. So relatable to me and my life.

Book that made you cry?
Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. Hands down. Sobbed through that book.

Book that made you happy?
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher.

Favorite book-to-film adaptation?
I actually haven’t seen any yet this year. Whoops.

Favorite post you have done this year?
I really like my post on currently pre-ordered titles!

Most beautiful book you’ve bought this year?
I’ve been better about purchasing books this year, but this goes to Only Us by Sylvain Neuvel. That book is beautiful.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Hoo boy, this is where this gets to be a little bit much. I’ll make a little list:
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
You by Caroline Kepnes
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab
Witchmark by C.L. Polk

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
The Name of the Wind -Patrick Rothfuss
Meddling Kids – Edgar Cantero
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

and then the two unreleased books I mentioned earlier, Muse of Nightmares and Vengeful.

As Books and Dachshunds did, I’m going to say that if you’re reading through this and want to do to the tag, feel free to say that I tagged you! Have fun, and happy reading!