Taylor Swift Evermore Book Tag
Hello everyone! If you've read my blog before, you may know that I really only do book tags that correspond to new Taylor Swift albums. It's the best way I can find to converge my love of T-Swift and books so I think I'll always do these. Plus it gives me another excuse to constantly listen to her music even if everyone around me is tired of hearing my awful singing, really it's butchering, of the lyrics.
And Taylor Swift has now released a new album titled evermore. The announcement nearly gave me a heart attack since it was the soonest she's ever released two albums back to back. I have to say I may like it better than folklore. Sure, folklore is more sonically cohesive but evermore just has some of the best songs she's ever released in my opinion. I've decided my holy trinity is Champagne Problems, Closure, and Marjorie - Champagne Problems being my ultimate fave because the BRIDGE is iconic.
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A book with a character(s) you can't help but love for me is The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh. Celine and Bastien are obviously amazing main characters but it's the supporting ones like Odette and Pippa that make the book shine for me. I loved reading about Celine coming to New Orleans as she flees her home following a dark decision and surrounding herself with these characters who are very understanding of her. Each one is so different from one another but they're all incredibly life-like whether they be endearing, like Pippa, or mischievous, like Odette. I found some of my favorites scenes of the book were those between Celine and her companions.
Recently, when I've thought of broken or complicated romantic relationships, I've thought about the Final Serenade series by NN Britt. I'm definitely more of a fan of romance books with angst and heartbreak because I'm also a glutton for punishment. The books feature a romantic relationship plagued by fame, balancing obligations, and addiction. It's a story where the main characters are just fighting to stay afloat in the churning waters of celebrity. I think the second book, Last Verse, shows this more than the first and challenges the relationship more than any one couple should have to deal with. It follows the ups & downs and breakups & reconciliations of a relationship that is always standing on shaky ground until the very end.
I've loved the Fallen Too Far series by Abbi Glines for longer than I can remember. I definitely read it when I was way too young but it's still one of my favorites so no harm no foul. It was really the first romance series I ever picked up and I remember being so excited when I bought the ebook with the Christmas money I'd saved that year. It actually took me another year after I finished the first book to buy the second because I again had to wait for Christmas money. Simpler times, for sure. These books will always hold a special place in my heart and I basically reread them yearly, my last rereading being only a few months ago.
When I saw the prompt for Tis the Damn Season I immediately thought of Belly Up by Eva Darrows. The book is about a pregnant teen, Serendipity, navigating her new life and reconnecting with her roots. One of the main plot points is that she and her mother move in with their grandma for multi-generational shenanigans. They boast proud Swedish ancestry while Serendipity also has her own Hispanic heritage from a father she doesn't know. It's all about her connecting with who she is and where she comes from as she balances these different sides of herself.
When I think of a suffering relationship, I can't help but think of After by Anna Todd. Tessa and Hardin's, the main characters, relationship is the equivalent of a train wreck you can't look away from in the best way. They're explosive together, for better or worse, and passionate in their love and, occasionally, hatred of one another. Through one of the longest contemporary romances I've ever read, they battle from start to finish for their relationship no matter how toxic it can be at times. It's is by no means a healthy relationship which is something we should all acknowledge but it's definitely an interesting dynamic to read about. It's also perfect for this prompt.
I read a lot of murder mysteries as it's my OG reading genre. I spent way too much time in my grandma's library when she would babysit me browsing through mystery novels from authors like Mary Higgins Clarke. It is no surprise then that I usually try to squeeze in a few murder mysteries a year and last year one of my favorites was The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James. It has everything you could want in a murder mystery: crime, missing persons, and even ghosts. It's easily now one of my all-time favorite mysteries and I recommend it to anyone interested in the genre.
I have a love-hate relationship with John Green books generally. For example, I loved Turtles All The Way Down but hated TFIOS. Saying that, I did really enjoy Looking For Alaska. Mind you I read it when I was stuck in the hospital with no other entertainment so take that with a grain of salt. It was such a good read that prevented me from staring at blank walls and I was in the age range for it at the time. Now though, I just don't think I'd like it as much so I'm deciding to remember it fondly from afar. I'll probably never reread it or even pick it up off my shelves again and I'm okay with that. I think part of growing up is accepting that you have to leave some things behind.
When I saw the prompt for Dorothea, a book featuring an old or strong friendship, I immediately thought of We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal. The book is an epic tale of adventure and magic but I found its best moments to be in the relationships, new and old. In terms of a tried and tested friendship, Zafira and Yasmine are sisters of their hearts. They have known each other for years and their bond has never dulled. They carry the other through fire and shoulder their burdens together. Most of the book is spent with them apart but they are never far from one another's thoughts. If there is a friendship I ever aspire to have, it is that of these two.
I know Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is technically a rom-com but I am not ashamed to admit there were multiple times when I legitimately sobbed. The emotional moments between Alex and Henry, joyful or sorrowful, hit me right in the chest. I think it's the gay in me that just knows how hard their struggles of self-acceptance and coming out are in any situation, let alone their's specifically. I found myself seeing my own queer journey in them through their exaggeratedly extravagant circumstances. It was a book that held so much heart that filled the reader to the brim with sentimentality. In its best moments, it made me, and I'm sure others, feel we were seen in our entirety, no matter where a person may be in their own life.
I received an ARC of A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha last year from entangled teen. I was super excited to read it as it was described as a Portuguese sapphic fantasy book. I was fairly certain I would enjoy it but I couldn't have anticipated it becoming a new all-time favorite of mine. I'm honestly still in shock by how much I ended up falling in love with the book. The story had everything I could have asked for from delicate longing to diverse storytelling to the classic elements of fantasy that the author twisted into uniqueness. I read the comparisons to other fantasy books on the cover and, while it does share some similarity to them, there is no denying the book is unmistakably its own.
If you read my review of The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller, you'll know my feelings toward it are lukewarm at best. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a terrible book. It just wasn't as good as I had hoped. It was probably my own fault for buying into the hype but it just didn't live up to my expectations. However, it is the only book I could think of featuring criminals so here we are. And it does do morally grey characters fairly well, there was just something lacking in the plot. I do know so many people adored the book though so I'm sure someone reading this will also enjoy it if they decide to give it a chance.
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house when my mom worked. She had a miniature, almost closet like, library filled with ex-library copies she'd let me rifle through while I was there. She didn't have TV or internet so it was really my only way to pass the hours. I ended up further developing my love of reading during those visits and branching out from the kid books I'd mostly read previously. One book that has stuck out to me is Daddy's Little Girl by Mary Higgins Clarke. It was a book I immediately felt drawn to and introduced me to the mystery genre, which were mainly the only books my grandma's collection consisted of. I wouldn't change starting that book for anything as it guided me from childhood to my teenage years and into adulthood.
I was, like many others, buzzing with excitement for the release of Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. The author pitched it as a YA gay fantasy rom-com with ghost boyfriends and honestly nothing could be better. I loved the lighthearted aspects and jokes that littered the story but it was the more serious moments that ended up moving me the most. The book tells the journey of Yadriel fighting for the acceptance of his gender identity by his family. It was an incredibly intricate story with humor and undeniable tenderness alongside the characters that stick out amid the sea like Yadriel, Julian, and Maritza.
One of my current favorite in progress series is Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. I read the first book in early 2020 in time to pick up the second book upon its release. Blood & Honey, the second book, was one I really enjoyed and was thankful it didn't suffer from second book syndrome. The sequel brought further depth to the characters and their story as they struggled with vastly different situations from those in the first book. The end to it also had me freaking out because it was INTENSE and I'm counting down the days until the third book because I can't live with the ending I was left with.
A series I don't talk about a lot is one of my favorites from high school, the Demonata series by Darren Shan. It is a pretty expansive series with different books covering different POVs of the characters to contribute to the overarching storyline. I and my best friend from school basically had a two-person book club as we'd talk to each other about the books as we read them at the same time. The ending in particular is one that still sticks out to me to this day as it progresses from small stakes to the grandest of them. The last line is still one I contemplate often as it brought everything full circle from book one all the way to the last.