BLOGTOBER Day 19: Barking ‘Bout Books Tag

I was only talking about Erik from Breakeven Books a couple of days ago when I shared a list of my favourite Booktubers, so imagine my excitement when I discovered that he’s made a book tag! I discovered this tag when I saw Andrew from The Pewter Wolf Reads shared his responses, so definitely check out his post too.

Sadly Erik’s doggo Max recently went over the rainbow bridge, so he’s created this dog-themed book tag as a tribute to him. It’s such a lovely way to remember him, so even though I haven’t been tagged myself I wanted to join in. I lost my doggo Charlie last year and I still miss him so much.

I’ve Got a Bone to Pick With You: Name a book that was good until it wasn’t

For this prompt I have to pick Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

I shared my in-depth thoughts about this book on day 2 of Blogtober so I won’t say too much more about it here, but this is definitely a book which starts off extremely strongly and plummets hard and fast into 1 or 2 star territory.

At first I loved this story. We follow Clay Jensen as he receives a set of thirteen tapes from his classmate Hannah Baker, who died by suicide a few weeks earlier. The way that the book is written makes it feel like a conversation between Clay and Hannah – his thoughts interrupt the soliloquy of her tapes – and it’s written really well… But things start to fall apart very quickly, and before you know it I was groaning and getting so frustrated with the direction that the story was heading that I was tempted to throw it out of the window. Sean did when he read it!

Welcome Home: Name a book or series that gives you the warm feelings of home

That would be The Gunslinger by Stephen King. Sean and I read most of our books together, but we often read them in the car while driving to or from seeing my parents or going to the supermarket, so most of the books we read remind me of our car Harley rather than home!

However, we read The Gunslinger together in one sitting during lockdown. Whenever I think of this book I get a really strong mental image of the sun shining in through our front window, my feet in Sean’s lap, Ezra asleep on my chest and Zophia rearranging the living room. It’s a very homely feeling, and it makes me feel intense gratitude for my family, too.

Ruffin It: Name a book that has a travel or journey element

I could think of hundreds of books which fit this prompt, but I decide to go with First Day of My Life by Lisa Williamson. It’s a 5 star read which I don’t talk about enough, so I’m glad to have an excuse to gush about it a little bit more.

Lisa Williamson’s fourth novel focuses on two best friends, Frankie and Jojo. Frankie is worried when Jojo disappears on results day – without collecting her results, ditching Frankie at the school on her lonesome – and becomes even more concerned when she phones Jojo and hears a baby crying on the other end of the line. Just a couple of hours ago a baby was abducted from a car at their local services, and Frankie is convinced that Jojo has stolen the baby and gone on the run.

Frankie teams up with her ex-boyfriend, Ram, to drive across the country, chasing Jojo to Swindon (my hometown, of all places!). That means this book features a train journey, a road trip, a lot of running around Swindon and a ton of personal growth – that makes it perfect for this prompt.

Marking Your Territory: Name a book or series that you will always stand by no matter what

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Predictable, but it would have to be Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of Dark Age, the fifth book in this series, Red Rising will always be my favourite book and I will recommend it and rave about it until the day I die. Nothing will ever change that.

If you’ve ever visited this blog before you’ll already know all about Red Rising and why I love it so much, but in case you’re new here I’ll just say that this is a book set on Mars about the lowest people in society rising up and trying to tear down the privileged cast that have supresses them for decades. It is bloodydamn brilliant.

Diggin Holes: A book that had some hidden secrets or a big plot twist uncovered

Again, I could think of hundreds of books which would fulfill this prompt perfectly, but I decided to go with The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

I took part in the blog tour for The Inheritance Games last month, and I really enjoyed it. This YA mystery follows a girl called Avery Grambs who discovers that she’s been included in the will of a very rich stranger. This rich stranger has disinherited his two daughters and his four grandsons to leave the majority of his billions of dollars in wealth to Avery, and he’s left behind nothing but a series of puzzles to explain himself.

If you loved Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson but you found yourself wishing it was following the glamorous family from Dynasty, this will be your new favourite book.

Stand By Me: Name a book or series that portrayed a very loyal friendship between its characters

The reason Stephen King’s It popped into my head as soon as I read this prompt is because I’m just over two thirds of the way through it. I’ve been reading it since the beginning of the month and have been enjoying it a lot, but when you’re reading a 1,400 page book and working full time it slows your reading progress down dramatically.

It tells the story of a group of friends – Bill, Ben, Eddie, Richie, Beverly, Mike and Stan – as they discover that their town is being terrorised by a glamour which shapeshifts itself into each of their deepest, darkest fears. Set in both 1958 and 1985, It follows the kids as they decide to team up to take down Pennywise the clown, and then rejoins them as they return to Derry 27 years later to try to finish Pennywise off for good.

I still have no idea how this story is going to end, but at the moment I’m reading the reunion section where the grown ups meet up again for the first time and begin reminiscing about their childhood days. Their friendship is everlasting despite – or perhaps because of – the trials that they went through as children, so their friendship is definitely a loyal one.

Tug of War: A book that you have very mixed feelings about

I didn’t enjoy The Queen of Nothing. I thought it was half the length it should have been – if it had been longer things would have been more fully fleshed out, but as it was they were horrendously rushed – and that the big twist in the story was nonsensical.

Whenever I think about this book I find myself feeling so disappointed by how the Folk of the Air series finished, because although I really disliked the second book I absolutely loved the first one.

However… I gave it 4 stars?!

I’m not sure if that was because I’d just given birth and my brain was all hyped up on hormones (“Someone wrote this book! Good job! 5 stars!”) but that rating definitely makes me doubt my sanity. So although part of me feels like this is a 1 star book, that 4 star rating makes me think I must be forgetting some really great aspects of it. I’m probably going to end up rereading it before I unhaul it just in case.

TREATS: A book that you are super excited about and will reward yourself by reading it

I’m not supposed to read Shorefall this month because I didn’t draw it while playing TBR Trick or Treat, but also my TBR has gone to hell this month anyway because It is taking me so long to read so why shouldn’t I pick up Shorefall!

Shorefall is the sequel to Foundryside, which I read last month and absolutely loved. With snark reminiscent of Pierce Brown and an extremely unique magic system, my first Robert Jackson Bennett read has already made me wonder whether I’m going to be adding him to my list of favourite authors one day.

I borrowed Shorefall from the library so I should read it sooner rather than later, so why shouldn’t I treat myself to reading this as a reward for finishing It?

I hope you enjoyed my answers to the Barking ‘Bout Books tag! Once again a huge thanks to Erik for creating this tag.

I’m only going to tag one person, and that’s Barb at Booker T’s Farm. I hope you still read my blog, Barb, because this dog-themed book tag is perfect for you!

See you tomorrow,