I’ve seen a few book tags since I started wandering around the blogosphere, but this was the first one where I was immediately like “OMG, I want to do this too!” I spotted it on Alexa Loves Books where I was referred back to the original creator of the tag, Kimberly Faye Reads. Kimberly very generously made the images available for anyone to use.
I thought this would be a straightforward task but in reality I found it really hard to pick my favourites in each category. There were so many books to choose from, with varying emotions tied up in each, but I eventually settled on my answers. Have a look! (I’ve included post links for the books I’ve reviewed on this website before.)
An upcoming release you wish you could
get your hands on right now
Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J.K. Rowling
Funny, right? A book tag inspired by Harry Potter and my first answer is – whaddaya know – Harry Potter. In fairness though, the release date for this book is only one month away and it’s the first one in nine years (notwithstanding the fact that it’s a script rather than a novel). I’m allowed to be a teensy bit excited!
Favourite series starter
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Author: Marissa Meyer
I only finished this series recently but it made quite the impact. As I was reading Book One, Cinder, I came to the realisation that I had something very special on my hands. And, boy, I was not disappointed.
A book that gave you all the warm fuzzies
Title: Watership Down
Author: Richard Adams
It’s likely that my answer here is not quite what the creator of the tag intended. No doubt the purpose of this category was to pick a favourite happily-ever-after romance or something similar, but I’ve chosen to go with rabbits. Yep. Watership Down was my absolute favourite book as a child and I adored reading about the journey the rabbits had to undertake to find their new home. Even now, when I pick up the book and flick through it, I am filled with a lovely sense of sweet nostalgia. That’s my warm fuzzies.
A book that made you ugly cry
Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Oh, the waterworks on this one were immense. I cried for a full hour reading up to the end, because I knew what was coming. Distraught doesn’t even cover it.
Bookish hero or heroine you want around
to protect you in real life
Character: Daenerys Targaryen
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire
Author: George R.R. Martin
While there is much to lament about Martin’s epic work of fantasy, his characterisation is pretty strong and Daenerys is one queen I want on my side. Her negotiation skills are deadly. And fire doesn’t burn her. Plus she has dragons. I think I’d be safe with her around.
A book you intentionally spoiled for yourself
No. Just no.
A book you wish you could make everyone read
because you loved it so much
Title: Outlander (originally called Cross Stitch)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
My close friends would have been able to answer this on my behalf. I can’t stop talking about this series of books. I’m currently on the fourth instalment out of eight (and will do a book review when I am finished – if I can find the words to express myself…), but it was the first book in particular which had me obsessed. I’ve converted two friends so far. I’ll keep working on it.
A book or series you wish never ended
Series: His Dark Materials
Author: Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman is a genius. All his books are very good but His Dark Materials is magnificent. The parallel worlds, the concept of dæmons, the thought-provoking themes, the characters I loved and hated with such passion. When I was finished, I wanted more. I still do.
A book with an uplifting ending or message
Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
This might be deemed an odd choice, considering I had it down originally as a candidate for all the pain-inducing categories. But I thought about it and, after the blubbering and sobbing was over, the end of this book did leave me feeling a little lighter. It’s the humanity in it, the way Will changes Lou’s life, and the sense of POSSIBILITY that I found I was able to take forward from it. (As well as the mother of all book hangovers, but that was only temporary.)
A book you wish you could forget you ever read
Title: The Girl Who Played With Fire
Author: Stieg Larsson
This is the follow-up to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and, having enjoyed the first book so much, I had high hopes for the second book. But I found it disappointing – both it and the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, veered wildly away from the original story and introduced new plots, characters and perspectives that didn’t interest me. I wish I hadn’t read either of them so that my memory of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo could be untarnished by its inferior sequels.
An author whose books always get you out of a slump
Author: J.K. Rowling
Oops, Harry Potter features again. It’s no word of a lie though – I could pick up any Harry Potter book at any time and know that I will enjoy it immensely. Ultra reliable reading material.
A swoon-worthy hero or heroine
Character: Jamie Fraser
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Outlander again too. Well, just be thankful it only gets two mentions (it was a contender for Alohomora, Expecto Patronum, Aresto Momentum, Crucio, Portus and Stupefy as well). There is no one more swoon-worthy than Jamie, with his kilt and his sword and his unswerving loyalty and his fierce passion and… *sigh* I need to go lie down.
A book that caused you to stop doing all other things
until you finished it
Title: Catching Fire
Series: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
It’s unusual for the middle volume of a trilogy to be the best and yet that’s how I felt about The Hunger Games. The first book set things up nicely and the third book was faintly disappointing, but I thought the second book was brilliant. I loved the arena for the Quarter Quell, the blossoming romance between Katniss and Peeta and the development of the plot and characters overall. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
A book that was painful to read (for whatever reason)
or broke you
Title: The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes
Author: Anna McPartlin
This is a book about a woman dying of cancer so I knew before I started that it was going to be no picnic. But it hit even harder than I expected it to – reading how the disease affected Rabbit’s life and the lives of all the people around her was heartbreaking. I was in bits by the end.
A book that had you laughing out loud
Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
A story about an astronaut stranded on Mars and likely to starve to death before he can be rescued does not lead one to expect lots of giggles, but this author knew how to pluck the humour out of almost every situation. I genuinely laughed out loud, many times.
A book that made you want to send it (or your e-Reader) flying
Title: Slouching Towards Kalamazoo
Author: Peter De Vries
Ugh. I didn’t like this book at all and said as much in my review of it. The sentence structures were convoluted, the vocabulary was baffling and the plot wasn’t good enough to excuse the rest of it. I don’t know why I forced myself to finish it and wish I really had sent it flying across the room.
Bookish world you wish you could visit
Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
There were any number of fantasy universes I could have chosen for this category, but in the end I decided that what I would like most of all is to travel into the past and experience life in the nineteenth century. Oh, to inhabit a world of long dresses, ballrooms, social etiquette and carriages – and let’s forget about poor hygiene, the absence of women’s rights and the social divide between upstairs and downstairs. I’m going for the idealistic version here.
A book with a shocking twist or ending
Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Anyone who has read this book knows that you have to expect the unexpected from Gillian Flynn. There is a MAJOR twist in the middle that I do have to admit I had just about sussed before it happened, but I was completely surprised by the ending. Based on the preceding events, I just did not see it turning out that way at all.
A character death that destroyed you
Title: Noughts & Crosses
Series: Noughts & Crosses
Author: Malorie Blackman
This is a really original book set in a world where black people are first class citizens and white people are second class. I read it as a teenager and it was probably my first proper teenage love story. There was angst and friendship and betrayal and forbidden love and…death. This death was devastating, especially because there were TWO more books to come in the series – where on earth could it go from there?? Grief-stricken, I was.
Best series conclusion
Title: The Amber Spyglass
Series: His Dark Materials
Author: Philip Pullman
The irony of this choice is that I already included His Dark Materials in the Engorgio category – a book or series I wish never ended. But, seeing as it did have to end, I must commend Philip Pullman on making it quite the fantastic ending. And I don’t mean that it finished happily. The ending was GUT-WRENCHING. But in the best possible way. It elicited raw emotion, not just the first time I read it, but every time (the most recent was by audiobook in the car – I found myself bawling behind the steering wheel). A reaction like that is surely every author’s dream so this one can pat himself on the back for a job well done.
So there you have it! I think I’m supposed to tag people to carry this on but, rather than tagging specific individuals, I would just like to issue a general invitation to anyone who’d like to try it! I would really love to hear your choices for the different categories above. I look forward to variety, debate and surprises!