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  • Writer's pictureThe Fiction Fox

Valentines Clichés Booktag (original)

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

1. Love at first sight Name a case of love at first sight, either based on the cover or the synopsis.

I can honestly say that I fall in love with books more often than I do with guys. Publishers have been killing it lately with the creation of gorgeous covers and engaging back-flap-texts. Most recently, I came across The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea (the book I’m currently reading), which drew me in with its striking cover and the promise of a story set in Iceland, “a windswept land, haunted by witch trials and steeped in ancient sagas.” Say no more my friend, I’m sold!

One of the most extreme examples of love at first sight for me was The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: I fell in love with the stunning 2015 paperback cover and the premise had me almost certain that this would be a new favorite. Unfortunately, I was a quite disappointed when it wasn’t just that. Nonetheless, no hard feelings towards this book. Those love-at-first-sight-crushes are not always meant to last, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth taking the risk ;)

2. Sweet like honey with corn-syrup on top Some books are just sickly sweet, and sometimes that is exactly why you love them. Are you someone who enjoys reading romance books, or do they tend to be too sweet for your taste? (Name some examples if you have them) As many of you may know by now, I’m not an avid romance reader. It’s quite out of character that I’m even doing a post dedicated to a holiday that is mainly focused on love and romance in the first place. Many popular romance authors, like Nicolas Sparks, Colleen Hoover, and even Diane Gabaldon, just tend to not be my cup of tea. I enjoy reading about relationships, but more so the later stages of a relationship, rather than those first butterfly-and-sweaty-palms moments. You especially lose me when those butterflies turn into immediate, love-at-first-sight-devotion, as is often the case in romance novels. I’m personally someone who falls in love quite slowly (at least compared to the stuff in books), and when two characters declare their love for another after just the first date, I just can’t relate.

3. Love finds you when you least expect it Name a book you weren’t expecting to love as much as you did Now this happens to me quite a lot. Some of my all-time favorite novels were complete surprises. For example: I wasn’t expecting to love Station Eleven as much as I did. Usually, post-apocalyptic novels aren’t my favorites, but this is an absolutely stunning novel, unlike any I’ve ever read. Instead of focusing on the “adventure-side”, as most post-apocalyptic books tend to do, Station Eleven focusses on characters, and the way they deal with everything that has happened. Another surprise on my favorite list was Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. I picked it up as an in-between thrilling read to take a break from the series of hard-hitting books I had been reading around that time, but got a read with so much more depth than I was expecting. I always feel obligated to put in a small disclaimer: this is a weird one, and much of what I got from it is a matter of interpretation, so this won’t be to everybody’s taste. Yet if you enjoy sci-fi with a thriller/horror edge, it’s absolutely worth a try.

4. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. What fictional food item would you share with your date on Valentines day? Is it wrong to say butterbeer? Because I honestly can’t think of a better one that I’d love to try.

5. Romance is dead…? A terrible romantic plotline that ruined your enjoyment of an otherwise good book Although I wouldn’t say it completely ruined the book, I really didn’t enjoy the romantic subplot in Children of Blood and Bone. The characters have so much else on their minds (magic, a racial war, deaths of people close to them) that I just can’t see how they have any room in their minds for love. This often happens in YA-fantasy, and I’m sure we can all think of some other examples just from the top of our heads. *cough* Caraval, Passenger, Sarah J Maas *cough* Falling in love in unlikely circumstances I can forgive, however, getting your priorities completely wrong and putting your puppy-dog-love over some lifechanging events… That’s a whole other playbook, and one I can’t get behind.

6. Size doesn’t matter Or does it…? Do you prefer shorter or longer books? Name your favorite short book and you favorite long book. As far as books are concerned, size does matter, but I don’t necessarily prefer one over the other, as both long books as well as short books have their respective strengths. What I love in a long book is the opportunity for deep worldbuilding and character development over a longer time. I love getting familiar with a world and the people inhabiting it and feeling like I’ve been with them forever. Longer books tend to give me that feeling more often, possibly also because it just takes me longer to finish them. An example of this is The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, one of my all-time favorite fantasies. Something I possibly appreciate even more though, is when a book can fit that same depth and/or emotional punch in a shorter books. There absolutely is an art cutting out everything obsolete and keeping just the core intact. A book that does that wonderfully is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which manages to fit more emotion in just 200 pages, than any other book did for me, period.

7. Love is blind Name a book you know is flawed, but you love regardless. Every book has its flaws, some more than others. I personally have a soft spot for The Stravaganza series (the original trilogy: I never read the further sequels) by Mary Hoffman. Although many people tell me its cliché, unoriginal and boring, I can’t help but feel so much nostalgia for this series. Similarly, I adore The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, for the great memories I have of it. Both these series introduced me to, respectively urban fantasy and high fantasy, and paved a way for a genre I absolutely adore now. With both, I see some clear flaws in writing and pacing now, but they will forever hold a place on my favorite shelf regardless.

8. Absence makes the heart grow fonder A new release or sequel that has yet to be released, but you can’t wait for. When making this question I was thinking mostly of releases that are far away on the horizon, and therefore make the longing even stronger. Two books came to mind: First of all: set to release in November 2019: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I’ve talked about it ad nauseum, so I won’t go into depth on what this one is about. Second… You can probably guess this… Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss… Please Pat… Please…?

9. Don’t kiss and tell Your favorite character that didn’t come out with all their secrets at once and kept an air of mystery about them. My first and favorite character to come to mind at the mention at this description would be Kaz Brekker from the Six of Crows Duology. He’s the kind of character where you know he must have a story that has made him the way he is, yet we don’t find out what it is until deep in the second book. I really like Kaz, and similarly the rest of the cast of Six of Crows, as all of them fit that profile to some extent, yet none of them fall into the category of “stereotypical brooding bad boy/girl”. Their actions make sense, and especially once you learn their stories, they were more relatable to me than I might like to admit.

10. All you need is love Name three qualities a book needs to have in order for you to love it. They say there are two types of readers: character-readers and plot-readers. Although I identify with both, I’d probably describe myself as mostly a character-reader. A book needs to have engaging, interesting and well developed characters for me to like it. Secondly, I’m a sucker for beautiful writing. Not every book needs to be a lyrical epistle, but there is something about carefully constructed and beautifully flowing sentences that can really set a book apart from the others in this text-based medium. Some of my favorite authors who know their way around words include Laini Taylor, Patrick Rothfuss, Kazuo Ishiguro and Kirsty Logan. Thirdly, all of my favorite books tend to be the ones that resonate with me on an emotional level. Whether it be inspirational or just relatable in some way or form, I love when a book puts into words something you’ve felt but never said out loud yourself. In a way, knowing that not just the author, but many people around the world have felt the same thing, gives a deep sense of connection. Most of my favorite books therefore tend to be the ones that feel like more than just “a story”, but carry an emotional layer with them, no matter what that emotion might be.

11. True love lasts a lifetime what book will have a special place in your heart for the rest of your life. My answer for this question will probably always be the same: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I mention it twice in this tag, and for good reason. It currently still holds the position as my all-time favorite novel, for just that reason. It came to me at the right moment in time and (literally) hit extremely close to my own home. I don’t think I have ever before or since felt like someone else had put my story and my emotions onto paper. It helped me in a difficult time and I will forever love it for that.

Other books that will have places in my heart are my favorite childrensbooks: especially Matilda by Roald Dahl, Kleine Sofie en Lange Wapper by Els Pelgrom and the entire works of Paul Biegel. Just seeing their spines brings back memories of home.

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