Book Tags The Bookish Things

Where To Start (The Spring Cleaning Book Tag)

My brain is so scattered with where I want to start, where I would like this blog to go, and all of the topics I want to discuss. It’s hard to know where to begin. Do I introduce myself, even though I have an “About Me” page? Do I set expectations for future discussions that will be had? Do I just dive headfirst into a random topic?

Let’s start, I suppose, with getting to know each other. Favorite books and book recommendations, can tell you so much about someone, so that seems like the best place to start here. I adore doing book tags, and promise to *try* to not recommend too many Sarah J. Maas books. The key word there is “try.”

I thought we should kick things off by doing the “Spring Cleaning Book Tag” that I’ve been seeing around the Interwebs. It’s perfect, because we just kicked off the start of Spring recently, and I’ve had Spring Cleaning Fever, and, with the help of Manoans’ sister, I’ve been in a cleaning/organizing fervor. So, without further ado…

1. The Struggle To Get Started: A Book or Series You Struggle With Because of its Size:

If I am being one-hundred percent honest, the size of a book or series rarely intimidates me, and I rarely struggle even with larger books just because of their size.

If, however, I am being one-hundred percent honest, I may have met my match in the form of Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin. This is an (extremely) long and detailed history of the rise and fall of House Targaryen in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. I can’t find the words to describe how much I enjoyed ASOIAF, nor can I find the words for how impatient I’m becoming for the next book in that series to be released. However, Fire and Blood is massive. And it reads like a literal history book. I feel bad about this one, because Manoans bought it for me for Christmas about three years ago and I still, still have yet to finish it. I’ve been borrowing and reborrowing the audiobook, because listening to it is infinitely easier than reading it.

2. Cleaning Out the Closet: A Book or Series You Want to Unhaul:

I’ve actually recently done some unhauling, and, amongst the unlucky victims, were the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, and the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs. I have two series, however, that I can think of that I haven’t unhauled just yet, for one reason or another.

The first is the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast. This is a world in which vampyres are a reality, and not in hiding. They don’t even bite people to turn them into other vampyres. No, people are “Marked” to be vamps in this series, based on something in their DNA. Zoey is one such person, and now she has to go live at the House of Night, basically a boarding school for vampyres, to learn how to be one. That is, if she can survive the Change.

I. Loved. This. Series. It was one of my favorites in high school, and still holds a special place in my heart. I feel that it is also, however, extremely drawn out. Many of the books felt like filler, and they could easily have either been combined into one of the other books, or left out without much being taken away from the series. Did I unhaul it, though? Did I? The short answer is no. The longer answer is that I couldn’t bring myself to, so I am saving it for when the Witchling is old enough to read those books, so I can pass them down to her.

The second series is The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer. This is another one I feel pretty bad about, especially since I’m writing about how I don’t want it on my shelves anymore. Truth be told, I still haven’t finished the first book, and I’ve had this series longer than I’ve had Fire and Blood. These books are about twins, a brother and sister, who have lost their father and are trying to navigate the personal loss. Their grandmother, as a birthday present, gives them a book called “The Land of Stories,” which later turns out to be a magical book that the twins end up literally falling into. Now, they have to travel throughout the fairytale kingdoms to collect ingredients for a spell that will send them home.

My husband bought these for me — the whole series, as a boxed set — for a birthday one year, and I was so, so excited, because they sounded amazing. Are they middle-grade? Yes, yes they are. Middle-grade can be underrated sometimes, so I was more than willing to give this series a try. But Chris Colfer’s writing style and I just don’t mesh. That and there’s a scene where the eleven-year-old girl is talking about how Cinderella isn’t anti-feminist. Let’s be real for a second. No matter how smart they are, how many eleven-year-olds talk about whether something is feminist or anti-feminist? Because the answer for me is zero. If I’m being fair, I think that irked me more than it should have, but I can’t let it go. The series itself sounds amazing, and I am sure there are plenty of people who enjoyed it, but, so far, I am not one of them. I just can’t bring myself to unhaul it without finishing the series. This is another one I’m listening to on audiobook.

3. Opening the Window and Letting the Fresh Air In: A Book That Was Refreshing:

The first book that comes to mind for this is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Our story follows Laura Jean, who is an uncomfortably accurate portrayal of myself in high school. Laura Jean has an epic dilemma on her hands when her secret love letters are secretly mailed out to all the boys she’s ever loved — including one to her older sister’s ex-boyfriend. To protect her relationship with her sister, and maybe a little bit to save face, she begins a fake relationship with Peter Kavinsky, a football player and all-around popular guy. Filled with all the high school, the teenaged drama you could ever hope for, this book is adorable and hilarious, if slightly childish in its presentation.

Here’s the deal with this one, guys. I’m an avid Fantasy reader. My shelves are filled with dragons, faeries, witches, vampires, and chosen ones. I just don’t do contemporary. Or romance. This book was everything I typically avoid, and it was one I loved so much, not only did I need to go and buy the other two books in the series, like, yesterday, but I also had to watch all of the movies on Netflix. Which were just as hilarious and adorable.

4. Washing Out the Sheets: A Scene You Wish You Could Rewrite:

I thought this one was going to be the one to break me. The one to make me throw in the towel and give up on this tag. This question took me so long to ponder, and several books crossed my mind; I actually finished this question last. And then it hit me, like a ton of bricks.

The Inheritance series follows the story of a poor farm boy named Eragon, who finds what ends up being a dragon egg while out hunting. The series follows the many adventures they have in their quest to rid Alagaësia of the tyrant King Galbatorix. Inheritance is the last book in the series. This series is so near and dear to my heart, as I grew up reading these books, and, to this day, it pains me to say this. But the ending of Inheritance, after all of the epic battles, and the magic and the dragons…fell flat. It honestly felt like a copout, almost like the author wasn’t sure how to end the series, so he just kind of…did. If I had the chance, I would absolutely rewrite the ending scenes to this book.

5. Throwing Out Unnecessary Knick-Knacks: A Book in a Series You Didn’t Think Was Necessary

I almost put two different books in this one’s place before I finally figured out what to put for this question. I almost went with Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, but I do honestly feel like that one was pretty necessary in the long run. I also almost went with Allegiant by Veronica Roth, but I can hardly remember the book enough to tell you if it was necessary or not (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, though). And then it hit me.

Now, it may be a little known fact, but I adore Anne Rice’s writing, and I feel that the first three books in The Vampire Chronicles series were fantastic. And then came the train wreck that is The Tale of the Body Thief. Lestat’s story continues in the fourth installment of The Vampire Chronicles, but he’s met someone who can offer him mortality again, by switching bodies. Only if Lestat is willing. Lestat, who has become bitter and lonely in his unnaturally long life agrees, and thus begins Lestat’s rediscovery of his humanity and, ultimately, why he enjoyed immortality so much to begin with.

If I’m being honest with you, I’m only halfway through this book, and I have attempted to read it on and off for at least five years now. And, no, that’s not an exaggeration. What began as something entirely different and entertaining turned into a chore to get through even a few pages. It honestly seems to me that it basically devolved into a competition Anne Rice had with herself to see how many times she could call the male organ “stinking” and mention, on multiple occasions, just how much Lestat hates urinating. I, honestly, might be overexaggerating just a little bit. And I have no clue how the events from this novel will tie into the rest of the series. But I absolutely think it was a completely unnecessary addition to The Vampire Chronicles.

6. Polishing Doorknobs: A Book That Had a Clean Finish:

Here’s another one that took me what seems like forever to decide on. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go with P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern, or if I was going to do Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I even thought about using The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. But then An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson crossed my mind and I couldn’t let it go. This book follows Isobel, an accomplished painter, who lives in a pocket of Fairyland called Whimsy. The Fae can’t make anything themselves, so they covet the humans that live in Whimsy, especially if they’re skilled in a craft. Isobel is commissioned by a Fae prince to paint a portrait, but he comes back after he’s received the painting, to take her to stand trial for a crime she committed in doing the painting…and that’s about as much as I can get into with spoiling things.

I found this book to be especially charming. The writing was as rich and beautiful as the world of Whimsy. Now, this book was not without its flaws (pacing, the pacing could have been so much better), but for a first book, and a standalone novel at that, I absolutely love the way this story ended. The whole story was just like a fairytale, and was heavily romance-driven (which I don’t always enjoy). I’m a little surprised that this one is as divided in reviews as it seems to be; you either love it, or you hate it. But I adored this one, and thought the end was just excellent. Do I need more tales from Whimsy? Absolutely. But the ending was perfect for the story that was told.

7. Reaching to Dust the Fan: A Book That Tried Too Hard to Relay a Certain Message:

Please, please don’t end up hating me for this one. It just has to be done. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Mansicalco is one of the best examples I can come up with for this question. This one is about Audrey Rose Wadsworth, seventeen years old, and the daughter of a lord who wants nothing more than for his daughter to act like the proper lady she is. In her off time, against the will of her father and society’s rules, she studies forensic medicine with her uncle. When studying some of the newer corpses reveals a serial killer is on the loose, she decides to investigate.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am all for strong, empowered women, and shattering “glass ceilings.” However, this book went a little too into detailing exactly how oppressed women were in the 1800’s, and also delighted (at literally ANY opportunity) to remind you that the main character isn’t a typical young woman, how the 1800’s were an unfair time for women, and how Audrey wouldn’t be held down by “the man”. Which I whole-heartedly agree with. Did it have to be repeated so much, though?

8. The Tiring, Yet Satisfying Finish: A Series That Was Tiring, Yet Satisfying to Get Through:

I have to do it. I just have to. While I love Cassandra Clare’s novels, and I feel that the Mortal Instruments series would fit this oh-so-well, I have to go with the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Celaena Sardothien is an assassin — the best assassin that Adarlan has ever seen. Selected to represent the prince in a deadly competition to be the King’s Champion, and therefore earn her freedom, she must fight to stay alive. But she’s also harboring some extremely dangerous secrets…

I won’t make it a secret for one second, I adore Sarah J. Maas’ writing style. And her storytelling. And her characters. Basically, I just enjoy Sarah J. Maas, and will be eternally grateful that Manoans picked up Throne of Glass for me. But was it just me, or was did this series just feel super long? In a really, really good way, but… Maybe it was the time we had to wait between the books. But it felt like it went on forever. So when Kingdom of Ash finally came, I welcomed it, even though I still wasn’t ready. For ANY of it. Kingdom of Ash was definitely the satisfying conclusion to an amazing fantasy series.

I did it, everyone. I managed to go the whole book tag and only mention Sarah J. Maas once. Okay, three times, if you include the blurb about the actual book, the mention at the beginning, and that mention just now. It’s getting better.

If you’ve stuck around, I just want to say that it’s nice to meet you, and thank you so much! I honestly don’t know who originally did this tag, but I do know that I found it on MetalPhantasmReads’ page, and you can find that right here.

Please feel free to consider yourself tagged! I’d love to see your answers!

Welcome to the Cauldron!

2 thoughts on “Where To Start (The Spring Cleaning Book Tag)

  1. Patti Haney

    Wow…great blog! Cannot wait to read more posts on the books you have read.
    Let us know which one you decided on reading and if you loved it, liked it, or could have done without it. 😊 Enjoy your book reading and very excited for you on this blog. Great idea.

  2. hallowe

    Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoy it so far! I can’t wait for y’all to see my next post! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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