‘Tis the season to curl up in front of a fireplace with a good book and a big mug of hot cocoa. Snowflakes are falling outside of your window, and the only sound you hear is the crackle of the fire and the crinkle of pages being turned. It’s just you and the book, no one else around.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it’s a big challenging to get into the “Christmas spirit” when you’re a student. My school wrapped things up particularly late this year, so I didn’t get to go home until December 19. Between research papers on medieval and Renaissance literature and politics exams, it was easy to forget that Christmas was right around the corner.
And so I thought, what better way to get ready to celebrate Christmas than crank up my favorite Christmas music and participate in a Christmas-y book tag? This is the 12 Days of Christmas book tag, created by Falling Down The Book Hole, though I learned about it through Paper Fury’s post a few weeks ago. I did my very best to limit my answers to books I read this year, though you’ll see I bent the rules a tad bit…
Without further ado, let’s celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas!
On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: a partridge in a pear tree.
The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favorite stand alone?
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. It might actually be one of the only stand alones I read this year? Despite my initial misgivings, it was actually a lot of fun to read! The banter between the two leads, Elian and Lira, was fun too – I love it when characters make little jabs at each other and then SURPRISE we actually don’t hate each other. It was also very pirate-y and I loved that! I need to read more YA books about pirates and ships and things.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: two turtle doves.
Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?
Speaking of ships, I was SO BLESSED to be able to re-read Marie Lu’s Legend series this summer on a very long car drive and I have renewed my love for Day and June. They could have been an “instalove” couple, but their relationship has its ups and downs throughout the series. They feel like real people with real goals and desires. Sometimes those goals and desires conflict, but they still stick by each other.
On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: three French hens.
In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?
I also read the Shades of Magic trilogy this summer and fell in love with its story. First of all, the black/red/white aesthetic of the covers and the books themselves are stunning and I wish I owned them so I could display them on the shelf in all their glory. The characters all felt well-rounded, even the antagonists, and the magic system was unique too! I adore fantasy books, but I always have a hard time finding ones that interest me. the Shades of Magic series hit the spot!
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: four calling birds.
Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favorite series?
Shock of all shocks, I’m going to talk about the Legend series again! The fourth (and final?) book of the series, Rebel came out this year, and I devoured it in a short weekend. It starred Day’s younger brother, Eden, who is also now my adopted child. It took place back in Antarctica, which was one of my favorite settings in the original trilogy that I wished I’d gotten to see more of. Day and June are back too, older and in different roles than we’ve seen them in before. It reminded me of what it was like to read the Legend trilogy for the first time when I was a teenager.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: five golden rings.
One ring to rule them all! Who is your favorite villain/antagonist?
Eli Ever from Vicious and Vengeful. (I promise this list isn’t just dominated by Marie Lu and V.E. Schwab). The thing about this duology is that it’s hard to tell who the real heroes and villains are, because everyone is terrible, but Eli definitely plays the role of an antagonist well. He gets amped up even more in the sequel, Vengeful, where we get to see a lot more of his backstory and how he became who he is today. He’s a fascinating character, and even though I wasn’t cheering for him, it was always exciting to see him come on the scene.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: six geese a laying.
Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favorite world/world-building?
The world of Boneshaker by Cherie Priest was phenomenal. She did what I considered the impossible, which was make zombies something more than a cheap gimmick. That alone deserves all the prizes. But more than that, she created a unique alternate history world, complete with history, “science,” and more. I aspire to be as good at worldbuilding as this book is.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: seven swans a swimming.
Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favorite animal sidekick?
This one was SO HARD. I was looking through my books from this year and I saw that City of Ghosts (oops, another Schwab book) had a cat on the cover, but I couldn’t remember if there was actually a cat in the book because I read it in January?? So I googled it and I have been assured by several reviewers that there is indeed a black cat named Grim who makes an appearance. He probably deserves more love, so I’m giving it to him here.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: eight maids a milking.
Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes beverages/food to a whole new level?
What I’ve learned from this question is that I need to read more books about food. But hey, Geekerella was an entertaining Cinderella retelling with the pumpkin carriage being a vegan food truck, so I think that counts for something! Just picture: a bright orange food truck careening down the street to get to a comic-con. Tell me that isn’t a hilarious image.
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: nine ladies dancing.
Dancing is just one skill of a lady! Who is your favorite female lead?
Ohhhh there are so many to choose from! I’ve settled on Jayel from the Flames of Courage short story by Hannah Heath. Jayel is considered a Halfblood, and people aren’t exactly welcoming towards her because of it. Still, she’s determined to prove herself and stand up for what’s right. Plus, fire powers.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: ten lords a leaping.
How about your favorite leading lad?
ALSO A HARD QUESTION. But I’m gonna go with Rhy from the Shades of Magic trilogy. His character arc was probably my favorite, and he never failed to make me smile when he appeared in a scene. Watching Rhy mature as a leader and king was highly satisfying, and even though he grew up, he never seemed to lose the qualities that made him endearing in the first place.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: eleven pipes piping.
What is your favorite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (it can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)
Okay, I admit it, I’m cheating a bit on this one. I didn’t read any books with a big musical influence, but I did listen to The Spies That Bind, an audiobook exclusive prequel to Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series. Seeing Cammie, Liz, and Bex as brand-new spy school students was fun. To be honest, I was just happy to see all of them again and return to the Gallagher Academy. I will never get tired of that.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 drummers drumming.
Drum roll please…what is your favorite read of this year?
It’s a hard decision to make, but it has to go to Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. Evidence: this is one of the only “for fun” books that I read during the school year, and I could not put it down. The world that Lim created was astounding, the characters were endearing and interesting, and the ending yanked my heart out of my chest. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Unravel the Dusk, is released in 2020!