The “How I Choose My Books” Tag

This actually wasn’t the post I intended on sharing today, but the book review I’d planned requires a bit more time and rumination…so I’m switching around my blog schedule! This is a really fun post, so I hope you enjoy it.

I found this tag on E.G. Bella’s blog (go visit her site and sign up for her email list–the wonderful short story she offers as a freebie made me weep!). She said at the end of her post that anyone could take the questions and run with them on their own blogs, so I decided to take her up on that. I also decided to limit my answers to the books I read in 2021, so consider this my “2021 Books In Review” article as well!

Photo by Monstera on

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

The Journeyman by Elizabeth Yates. NOW, let me clarify that I did expect to enjoy it because my mom (whose literary opinions I highly respect) loved it. I just didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did! I was completely swept away by the story of Jared Austin, a young artist-apprentice who paints his way through New Hampshire in the early 1810’s. I’ve spent a lot of time this year in orthopedic waiting rooms, and this short but rich book kept me company through a few of those long hours.

What book did you discover through a film/TV adaptation?

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Earlier this year, this book and its two sequels were all the rage thanks to the Netflix miniseries, so I decided to read them. Out of the three books, I liked Shadow and Bone the best–but overall I gave the series a solid thumb’s-down.

(I’m told that Six of Crows, also written by Bardugo and set in the same universe as Shadow and Bone, is a far superior story. It is on my TBR list, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.)

Pick a book that you discovered through booktube/bookstagram/book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

I learned about Romanov by Nadine Brandes after following her on Instagram. My parents gave it to me for my birthday in March, and I read it in breathless excitement over the span of a few short days–so YES, it totally lived up to the hype. (You can read my full review of Romanov HERE.)

Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

A dear friend and mentor personally recommended George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin to me. I can’t say it was my favorite fantasy story ever, but I did enjoy it!

Find a book on your bookshelves with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?

Joel Clarkson’s Sensing God: Experiencing the Divine in Nature, Food, Music, and Beauty was of the books I read in 2021 with a blue cover. The title alone caught my attention. I’m a strong and stubborn proponent of the idea that God gave us our five senses as one way to fully enjoy and glorify Him. We are not merely spiritual or intellectual beings; we’re physical creatures as well, and our senses are not to be despised or ignored as “worldly” or “material,” but cherished and cultivated in good and godly ways. This book was all about that, and I highly recommend it!

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick a book at random. How did you discover this book?

Randomly picking a book off my 2021 Goodreads shelf here…AH, here’s a good one…

One of the story ideas I’m considering for my next novel is based on a famous Greek myth; in fact, I’d go so far as to say that I WILL write this book one day, regardless of whether or not it’s my next one. As a result, I wanted to brush up on my mythology, so I read Padraic Colum’s The Children’s Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy. This book is a great way to introduce yourself to (or, in my case, refresh myself on) The Iliad and The Odyssey without actually delving into these ancient epics. (Though you should totally do that at some point, too.)

Find a book on your shelves with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

(*takes a deep breath, then bursts into a passionate shout*) BLOODLINE!!!

Ahem. Excuse me. Got a bit worked up there. Bloodline is a Star Wars novel, it’s set before The Force Awakens, it’s all about Princess Leia, and out of all the Star Wars novels I’ve read so far, this one is my favorite. Part of the reason I like this franchise so much is because it’s as full of political intrigue as it is action, adventure, fantasy, and romance. This book had plenty of political twists and turns, and they kept me guessing the whole time.

Think of your all-time favorite books. When did you read these, and why did you pick them up in the first place?

My favorite books of 2021 would have to be:

  • Bloodline by Claudia Gray
  • Romanov by Nadine Brandes
  • The Journeyman by Elizabeth Yates
  • Silence by Shūsaku Endō

I read all of these during the first half of 2021; with the sole exception of Bloodline, I read them all after my accident in February. Why did I pick them up in the first place? Well, I started reading them because I was pretty sure I’d enjoy them. After all, I value my time and rarely risk wasting time on a book I probably won’t like.

Fortunately, my instincts were excellent and I loved each of these books–and indeed, I loved 90% of the books I read in 2021. Not only were they entertaining and, for the most part, well-written, but they each offered something my soul and/or my imagination needed over the course of a pretty rough year.

You can take a look at my full 2021 reading list HERE! Have you read and/or enjoyed any of these books recently? Let’s talk books in the comments!

5 thoughts on “The “How I Choose My Books” Tag

  1. Ah, it made me so happy to see you post this today! Thank you very much for the sweet shoutout, and for jumping on board with these questions. I loved reading your answers! (Romanov is one of my favorites too 😊).


    1. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed it! It was a really fun tag, and a great way to chat about my 2021 reads. Romanov is SUCH a great book. I’ve always been fascinated by the history of the Russian royals, and that novel felt like such a worthy companion not only to all the actual history books I’ve read, but also to the Anastasia musical/animated movie! That movie was a staple of my childhood.


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