[Awards/Tags] — Lunar New Year Book Tag

Awards/Tags are just pointlessly fun blog posts that eat up your time.


Lunar Year Book Tag

The other day, I was asked by Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit if I wanted to help create a fun tag for Chinese New Year. Granted, Tiff did 99% of all the creative work and should really be given most of the credit!

You can join in on all of the Lunar Year celebrations by adding your post and visiting other tag posts here:

Plus, all the banners can be downloaded here at Tiff’s blog:


Only because literally few people have read The Blackthorn Key (Kevin Sands)I will use that as the book that has flown under the radar.

blackthorn key - kevin sands - book cover“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”

Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way.

But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.


Most characters I read about are so annoying “strong” that it gets everyone around them killed. Without spoiling too much, and though I am of the minority of who did not enjoy this book (1/5 stars, lol), This Is Where It Ends (Marieke Nijkamp)has this character(s) who does one brave act that might not be made by 99% of everyone else who has even a glimpse of self-preservation.

this is where it ends - marieke nijkamp - book cover10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


Most of what I read aren’t “issue”-centric stories; they’re more integrated into the novel than being the focal point. However, I recently read Under Rose-Tainted Skies (Louise Gornall)which focused on OCD and Agoraphobia. As you may know, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the this story’s absurd plotting but that doesn’t discount how well I thought the issues were penned.

under-a-rose-tainted-skies-louise-gornallAt seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.

But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.

Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?


My shotgun decision tells me to put Windwitch (Susan Dennard) as that’s what I’m reading right now and I fucking love Iseult and (B)Aeduan, but alas, that could actually change when I’m done.

Instead, I’ll choose Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. Although the whole mystery appeal is lost on me due to skepticism, it was still an enjoyable journey and one of the few YA contemporaries with a romantic plotline that was still relatively funny.

tell-me-three-things-julie-buxbaum-book-coverEverything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?


A less traditional pick (maybe) is Prince Yarvi of Half a King (Joe Abercrombie) fame. He’s basically shit on by his family’s court and finds himself in the shittiest of situations trying to get back to his home for revenge. Excellent voice amid captivating prose.

joe abercrombie - half a king (cover)Betrayed by his family and left for dead, Prince Yarvi, reluctant heir to a divided kingdom, has vowed to reclaim a throne he never wanted.

But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself – all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of a hard, cold world, he cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he has sharpened his mind to a deadly edge.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast, he finds they can help him more than any noble could. Even so, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, traps and tragedy…


An out of the box choice is We Were Liars (E. Lockhart). I acknowledge that this book was not for me and if you read with all your hats on (skepticism), then the ending shouldn’t be much of a shock. However, what this story seems to do with its unreliable narrator is that Cadance manipulates the readers of the book by drawing them into this weird life…only to pull the rug on them (not me) at the end.

…but if that above choice doesn’t make sense then I’ll just go with Amy Dunne of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) fame.

E. Lockhart - We Were LiarsA beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.


Since The Serpent King (Jeff Zenter) recently won this year’s Morris, I figure I’d remind you that this contemporary title was my favourite of last year. Resiliently quiet but effortlessly effusive.

jeff-zentner-the-serpent-king-book-coverDill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this vnom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia, neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending- one that will rock his life to the core.


Number one trick to get me to go “oh my fucking god“: a well-conceived colour palette. This choice might be similar to my enjoyment of A Thousand Pieces of You but it’s less cool to like that title now that there’s subtle-and-dismissed rape scenes.

That being said, Cold Summer by Gwen Cole takes that cake this time around.

cold-summer-gwen-cole-book-coverToday, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.


The first character that came to mind is Nikolai Lantsov from The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo. He’s just a wonderful person that [redacted spoilers here]. But then, really, it could also be Wylan or Jesper or a sleuth of other of Bardugo’s characters. She writes wit and banter well.

shadow and bone - leigh bardugo - book coverSurrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.


Release by Patrick Ness. As if there were any other choice…

release-patrick-ness-book-coverInspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.


I actually don’t re-read books so I don’t have an answer for this. I’ve re-watched the Harry Potter franchise god knows how many times, if that counts?


As a series that I love-to-hate, I don’t know why I keep giving  money to shit on Red Queen et al. by Victoria AveyardI mean…I’m glad I’m buying them when it’s discounted in the first weeks but it is still oddly questionably that I am doing this…does this mean…I ENJOY IT?! Nah, there are so many problems in this book that have made me write two 2k+ word reviews each. I’ll give it props for it being a decent gateway fantasy book though. Anyone can betray anyone though…

red queen - victoria aveyard coverThis is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

Get Tagged:

Aentee @ Read at Midnight
Aila @ One Way or An Author
Ava @ Bookishness and Tea
Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm
Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions
CW @ Read, Think, Ponder
Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse
Jasmine @ Jasmine Pearl Reads
Jaz @ Fiction in Fiction in Fiction
Jeann @ Happy Indulgence
Jenna @ Reading With Jenna
Jesse Nicholas @ Books At Dawn
JM @ Book Freak Revelations
Kevin @ Bookevin
Liam @ Hey Ashers
Lois @ My Midnight Musing
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
Naz @ Read Diverse Books
Reg @ She Latitude
Ri @ Hiver et Cafe
Sara @ Freadom Library

…and you if you would like to do it!


Eat all the food.


afterthoughtAn // twitter
anotherafterthought // goodreads
picturevomit // instagram


30 thoughts on “[Awards/Tags] — Lunar New Year Book Tag”

  1. Ahhh this tag looks like so much fun!

    I need to read Under Rose-Tainted Skies… somehow I didn’t realize it was about OCD! I haven’t found very many books with OCD rep so I think reading some would be good because it might help me to feel less alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Woah, gotta check some of these titles out. I’ve read reviews for some of these but Cold Summer and The Blackthorne Key look very interesting. I’ve been meaning to read This is Where it Ends for some time now too, but I think I have it enough with teenagers waving a gun around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re still searching for a school shooting novel, The Hate List by Jennifer Brown, I’ve heard was a good one I’d probably push as opposed to This Is Where it Ends (only because it was too cinematic for my tastes to truly recommend).

      Also, yessss Blackthorn Key is great and Cold Summer sounds really fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would say I did 90% of the creative work, but the thinking was both of us!

    And if anyone’s reading this – please feel free to download the banners and link at my post. https://www.mostlyyalit.com/2017/01/lunar-new-year-book-tag-2017.html

    Next time, I’m totally adding in the book cover and synopsis.

    Um, how did I not know about RELEASE?!?!?! HOW COULD YOU NOT TELL ME THESE THINGS, JOEY?!?!

    Also, I had no idea you’d continued to give your money to Red Queen. C’mon dude, you didn’t like it! =p

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You guys are genius; the tag is amazing. And Tiff’s banners are so cute, I can’t even.

    Honestly, I’m delighted that you keep going back to the Red Queen series; your lengthy discussions are amazing, and I want more. (Give me more.)

    I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone else who’s never reread a book. You’re a rare breed, Joey.

    Thanks for the tag!


  5. Your dedication to the Red Queen series is admirable. Me, I gave up on it from the start haha. Prince Yarvi ❤ talk about an epic underdog story and his one liners were golden. Thank for the tag. 😀


  6. This tag looks really fun and the graphics to go along with are pretty cool! 🙂 I will definitely be taking part in this as soon as I get some free time. 😀

    The Serpent King was my favorite last year as well. I can’t wait to get my hands on Zentner’s new book and I hope it’s as amazing as the Serpent King is. Totally agree, that cover for Cold Summer is so amazing. I believe I added this to my TBR just because the cover was so awesome. Nikolai, yes! Ness’ new book sounds really good and I plan to get that one too.

    I rarely reread books and if I do, I usually just listen to the audiobook instead of reading it again myself. 100% agree with you on Red Queen. I actually really loved Red Queen so much, but holy crap Glass Sword was the worst. I was so disappointed and angry. Will I buy King’s Cage? Yeah, most likely I will. LOL.


  7. LMFAOOO that Red Queen/quote shout out. OF COURSE it had to be there…
    I never knew about the hidden rape scene in ATPOU but I’m glad I haven’t wasted time on it. That’s appalling.
    I love that you recommend/tag books that you may not have liked overall, but still appreciate. Great objectivity Joey, teach me how to be like you. ALSO, YOU’RE READING WINDWITCH? Gahh I need to so I can get more Iseult and (B)Aeduan scenes. ; – ; my luvs

    Thanks for the tag!


  8. OMG I am reading Windwitch at the moment and savouring it at the moment! I’ve heard great things about Half a King which is why I have it on my shelf, but have I read it, no. YES to We Were Liars and Gone Girl for the Snake. Yeah I’m so over the Red Queen series, I’m not even going to bother with KC. Hey, I got tagged! Thanks Joey!


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