I saw this on Carly’s blog Writing from the Tub and had to have a go. Taylor Swift is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. A lot of people have a lot of criticism for her (and as someone who’s played a few of her songs, I can confirm she uses the same four chords 90% of the time) but her music is so helplessly catchy and often really feel good. And she’s so prolific she has songs for almost every occasion, in life or writing.
So here’s the Taylor Swift Book Tag. Join in if you want to!
1. We are never getting back together: a book or series you were pretty sure you were in love with but then wanted to break up with
Argh so many. So SO many YA trilogies open with a stunner of a first book then fall into the perilous land of the ‘oh god, two hot boys, how do I choose between them’ plot. Firelight by Sophie Jordan is the one that immediately springs to mind – great twist on the paranormal mythology. Some interesting conflict set up. Large action set pieces. And then the second book was just… dross.
There’s nothing I hate more than this habit. I’m glad I’ve not come across any more recently. Or perhaps I’m just being more discerning with my reading…
2. Red: pick a book with a red cover
Speaking of YA trilogies… this one definitely didn’t disappoint. I think I said I was going to review, but then I never really got around to it. It was amazing. Not much more than that needs to be said.
Except that it, obviously, has a lovely red colour. Well, it had to really being Tsar-punk (I believe that’s the term Bardugo uses) set in an alternate-fantasy-historical Russia.
So, if that sounds like your sort of thing, go read. You won’t be disappointed. There may be THREE hot boys for the protagonist to choose between, but once you start reading, you’ll see it’s just an illusion of choice anyway, and that there’s only one logical conclusion. It was never really about anything other than the two characters that end up together in the first place.
3. The best day: pick a book that makes you feel nostalgic
This might seem like a strange choice, but I loved this book in my childhood, and whenever I think of happy memories pre age 10, this is one of the things that springs to mind. I loved pouring over the instructions on how to be a good witch, enjoying the lovely illustrations, and particularly appreciating the veracity of the information (my mum confirmed that perming then bleaching your hair was an excellent way to get split ends and rough hair, as she’d done this as a teenager.)
I’d love to have a copy of this again. I don’t know if the well thumbed one from my childhood is still at my mother’s house. I hope it is, and I hope my younger siblings discover it soon.
4. Love Story: pick a book with a forbidden love
It’s kind of in the title.
Despite the fact that this book seriously skeeved me out, I still think about it fairly often several years later.
Tackling the taboo topic of sibling incest with sensitivity and a lack of judgement cast one way or the other, Forbidden will make you feel sick, but it will also challenge you to think outside of that box prescribed by our culture and, ultimately, feel sympathy for the central characters and the terrible situations they find themselves in.
5. I knew you were trouble: pick a book with a bad character you couldn’t help but love
I really struggled to think of anything for this one. My love affair with the bad boy began and ended with Dean Winchester – I’ve always been more partial to the freaky nerd in the corner. But an out an out bad guy that I can’t help but love? Really struggling.
Artemis Fowl came to mind, though the love there is rather more maternal. Then I thought about Nick from The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, but he was never really flat out bad… just… demonically inclined.
Then I remembered the first bad guy I ever really loved (and that’s loved as in loved the characterisation, rather than harboured romantic feelings for, just to be clear) was the Trashcan Man from The Stand. (Made epically better by the fact that he’s played by Matt Frewer in the TV Mini Series.) He’s an awesome character.
6. Innocent: pick a book that someone ruined the ending of
Um… I can’t say I ever really had a book ending ruined. I either read books that quickly that I know all the spoilers before I can be spoiled, or I just don’t frequent places where spoilers are posted. Movies and TV Shows? I get got all the time, but not really with books.
So I’m going to go with Game of Thrones, because though I hadn’t seen the TV series when I read the first book, I had seen the casting. And Sean Bean is like a walking spoiler. If you know what I mean.
7. Everything has changed: pick a book that has a character who goes through extensive character development
I want to say Jamie Lannister because damn that’s a good bit of character development, but a) I can’t do Game of Thrones twice in a row and b) I haven’t actually read the book where all that happens, just watched the TV series.
So I’m going to go for Kip from the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks. He’s a character who has changed physically and mentally across the story. He starts out as a fat, awkward kid who is well out of his depth in pretty much everything, to someone able to hold his own against the best manipulators in the ruling bodies of his world. And he’s really annoying in the beginning, then isn’t by the end of the third book. I always take that as a good sign where character development is concerned.
8. Forever and always: pick your favourite book couple
They feature together for only about ten pages in the whole novel, but Onion Sam and Kate Barlow from Holes are one of my ultimate favourite book couples. Their relationship is over as soon as it begins, and it’s drawn so sparingly that you know very little about them as characters outside of their developing relationship with each other. But it’s touching, romantic, tragic and wonderful.
The doomed love of a white school teacher and a black onion seller in 19th century America is central to the whole plot of Holes, though it’s over in a moment in the story. Their love echoes through time impacting events and lives, even a century later.
And I still get a little shiver down my spine every time I hear the phrase: ‘I can fix that.’
9. You belong with me: most anticipated book release
I’ve just finished reading a load of final trilogy instalments – Found by Harlan Coben, Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan to name a couple – so I’m actually struggling to think of more than one book for this. I can’t say I’m particularly excited about much that’s coming out soon.
I can’t say I particularly know what’s coming out soon… I’ve never been very good at keeping track of what’s up and coming.
I did, however, immediately think of The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. And immediately google it to make sure it hadn’t come out already. Here’s hoping this one turns up on the review pile soon!
10. Come back, be here: pick a book you wouldn’t lend out to anyone for fear of missing it too much
I give a lot of my books away to people – I get that many for review, I can’t possibly keep them all, so I’m all about sharing the love.
However, I’m very particular about who I share my ‘keepers’ books. I don’t really let any of them out of my sight, unless they are going on Carole Heidi’s bookshelf. Because I’m holding a large number of hers hostage. We basically use each other’s houses as bookshelves… It’s like timeshare, but books.
But I’d definitely be particularly careful about lending out any signed books, such as my copy of The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman. These are treasures that are memories of events and occasions as much as they are of the stories, and I’ll keep them for the rest of my life.
11. Tear drops on my guitar: a book that made you cry a lot
If I Stay… the book that pretty much wiped me out for the entire duration of my reading it. It doesn’t give you much room to breathe, with the entire family of the main character being wiped out by a car accident within the first ten pages.
And it just gets better from there…
Addressing big questions like ‘what makes life worth living’, If I Stay is tragic, but ultimately life affirming. I cried tears of sadness and happiness pretty much all the way through.
12. Shake it off: a book that you love so much you just shake off the haters
Can this one be the other way round please? I can think of about a zillion books I hated that everyone else seemed to love… but the other way round? Struggling.
I know a lot of people didn’t like the end of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (no trilogy ending can ever satisfy everyone) and same for Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (the Darkling, really people?) so let’s combine those and call it a legit answer.
Yeah. My blog, my rules. Right?