This is my second Christmas on my book blog, A Literary Escape. So I thought it would be fun to re-do the same book tag I first did at this time last year. Lizzie Loves Books created the 12 Days of Christmas book tag. It uses the 12 Days of Christmas song as bookish prompts to recap your reading year. If you’re curious about any of the books below, I linked to my reviews of them, if I wrote one.
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 this year?
FOUR TREASURES OF THE SKY by Jenny Tinghui Zhang immediately comes to mind. I don’t know why this book didn’t gain more visibility this year because it’s beautifully written. It’s not a happy book, but this historical fiction gives a voice to racism against Chinese people in late 19th century U.S. If you love lyrical writing and poignancy, you need to read this.
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 this year?
This year I didn’t fall in love with any “one true pairing” like I did last year with the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. But if I’m being honest with myself, I got my OTP in HEART OF THE SUN WARRIOR by Sue Lynn Tan. No spoilers here, but if you enjoyed the first book, this one is even better.
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 this year?
I’m cheating here a little bit because I didn’t read any trilogies. Technically the Daughter of Erabel is a series with a fourth book in the works. But I read the first three books this year. It’s a mature Young Adult/New Adult series inspired by Irish mythology. There are a lot of moving plot lines, which the author weaves together wonderfully even though these books aren’t very long. Plus they’re self-published, so give them a try! To learn more, check out my reviews for books one, two, and three.
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 this year?
I only read one series this year, so this is an easy answer: The Plated Prisoner by Raven Kennedy. It’s a King Midas retelling that deviates strongly from this in the first book. Let’s just say it’s inspired by the myth and holds its own through four books. I have reviews for GILD, GLINT, and GLEAM.
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 this year?
Looking through my “Read” list on Goodreads, I don’t feel very strongly about one villain/antagonist vs. another. I certainly read books with these types of characters, but none of them really stuck with me. Because of that I think I’ll choose one that had a real shock factor for me: THESE HOLLOW VOWS by Lexi Ryan. I’m still mad about it and I need to put my mind to rest in 2023 by reading the sequel.
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 this year?
My favorite one is from one of my final round BBNYA assignments, but I’m not allowed to say! 🙁 So I’ll go a little out of character for me and pick a grimdark novel I read for a book blog tour. THE BROKEN HEART OF ARELIUM by Alex Robins definitely differs from my default subgenres. The middle moves a little bit slowly, but by the end I was curious to learn more about the lore and the magic system. It’s also independently published!
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 year?
Mephi from Andrea Stewart’s The Drowning Empire trilogy will always have a place in my heart. But this year I think this prompt goes to Geiki in A THOUSAND STEPS INTO NIGHT by Traci Chee. I loved his semi-naïve, whimsical, and mischievous nature.
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?
It seems I don’t read books that focus on food. So this is a tough prompt to fulfill. I suppose I could put my own twist on this and pick A DOWRY OF BLOOD by S.T. Gibson. Blood is food for vampires, so it counts, right?
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 kickass female lead this year?
I feel like I tend to read books that ultimately have strong female leads. But this year my pick is from the nonfiction genre. I have to go with either Brunhild or Fredegund from THE DARK QUEENS by Shelley Puhak. It’s still a “man’s world” today, but the patriarchy dominated 6th century France even more then than now. This is a great history on how two women ruled over what is France today.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Ten lords a leaping.
How about your favorite leading lad this year?
Honestly, none of the leading lads gripped me as much as Rhysand did last year in A COURT OF MIST AND FURY. The one that comes to mind is still too morally grey and unknown in my mind until I read the second book. So, for this year’s rendition of the tag, I pick Ruvan from A DUEL WITH THE VAMPIRE LORD by Elise Kova. This book has an interesting interpretation of and backstory of vampires.
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.)
I didn’t read many books with music this year. In fact, I think I read only one that had music as a semi-focal point. So that leaves me with THE CICADA TREE by Robert Gwaltney. This is a subdued psychological thriller set in the deep south of the U.S. It includes both a piano and singing as musical elements. I appreciated the writing, but felt the ending was a bit abrupt.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: twelve drummers drumming.
Drum roll please…what is your favorite read of this year?
In my Top 5 Powerful Books I Read in 2022 post, I hypothesized I wouldn’t have anymore potential favorites to add to my list. I’m still reading ALONE WITH YOU IN THE ETHER by Olivie Blake at this time, but I think that book my end up in my favorites list. But since I haven’t yet finished it, it’s not a candidate for this particular book tag, sadly. This is really tough because I have several top books for different reasons. So, to finally answer the question, I have to pick a tie: FOUR TREASURES OF THE SKY and THE ATLAS SIX. The writing in both of these books is absolutely stunning. The former is a historical fiction and the latter is a dark academia fantasy.
You don’t have to celebrate Christmas to do this tag, so feel free to tag yourself if you want to do it! I tag Dusty @ Eye-Rolling Demigod, Green Reads Books, and Kaya @ A Fictional Bookworm. (But only if you want to! :-))