March Book Madness! Day 23, The Fellowship of the Ring Book Tag!

A Girl Reading by Johann Georg Meyer

Here I am again filling out a book tag. With how busy I am lately, they are a good way for me to finish writing fast and have fun. Todays Tag I found from Suzy’s Cozy World. Since I love Lord of the Rings, this seemed like the perfect Tag prompt.

Let’s get started!

Gandalf – A book that taught you something

Kate Milford‘s The Boneshaker (2010)

I learned so much about automatons, mechanics, medicines, old Southern folktales, and the culture during the early 20th century. It was simply fascinating to read this book. Her other book Greenglass House is just like that as well. Milford really paints history in beautiful, fascinating colors.

Frodo – A book that left a mark on you

Ruta Sepetys‘s Between Shades of Gray or Ashes in the Snow (2011)

I knew about the German holocaust, the billion people killed in China, and Russia’s internment camps. I did not know about the Slavic people’s from Lithuania and other neighboring countries mistreated, killed off, and imprisoned in Russia. This book opened my eyes to parts of history I did not know. It is one of my favorite books from these past few years. I highly recommend it to anyone who has not read it.

Legolas – A book you finished in one sitting

J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)

This is the one book I know for sure I read in one sitting. I probably did the same with the 5th and 6th books in this series, but this felt like my most impressive accomplishment.

Gimli – A book that features an unlikely friendship

Juliet Marillier‘s Wildwood Dancing (2006)

For this question, I immediately thought about the sweet friendship between Jena and her frog Gogu, who she could understand and talk to. Their relationship is the heart of this beautiful fairytale book.

Merry – A book that pleasantly surprised you

Tahereh Mafi‘s Furthermore (2016)

I honestly didn’t expect Furthermore to be as interesting a read. The cover is beautiful, but the premise seemed too predictable. However, when I sat down and started reading, this book had its hooks in me. The story and writing style are just as colorful as the cover. 

Pippin – A book that made you laugh

Philip Ardagh‘s A House Called Awful End (2003)

A House Called Awful End is the funnier version of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I laughed so hard reading this story. the stuffed weasel, the house and people who smelled like old hot water bottles, and even the silly old man with his fake gun stole my little heart as a teenager.

Boromir – A book/series that you think ended too soon

Brian Selznick‘s The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2008)

This book unfolds like a dream. It’s beautiful artwork, writing, and conclusion stole my heart the first moment I read it. My one grievance against it was it ended so fast. Because it is so beautiful I wanted more.

Sam – A book with memorable side characters who stole the show

Eva Ibbotson‘s The Secret of Platform 13 (1994)

I am not sure who constitutes as a main character in this story, but I love all the quirky side characters scattered throughout the book. Ibbotson always has such amusing side characters and this book is no exception.

Aragorn – A good book with a bad/average cover

Elizabeth Marie Pope‘s The Sherwood Ring (1958)

My friend Erica really likes this book and gave it to me to read. I didn’t want to because its cover wasn’t very appealing to me. In fact, I think it is kind of ugly. But as I read it, I actually enjoyed it. It’s a good story, and a fun look into Revolutionary History in the United States.

Gollum – A book that had great potential but disappointed you in the end

Colleen Houck‘s The Lantern’s Ember (2018)

I read this book fairly often because I love the IDEA of it. I have a soft spot for Halloween-esque stories in forested towns. I love who the characters are, especially Jack with his Pumpkin who carries his soul. But, Houck’s execution just fell so flat. This felt more like a third or fourth draft rather than a well-polished finished novel. In fact, if she took her story and fixed it up I think it would do it a lot of good. I still love reading despite these flaws because it sparks my imagination.

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.

March Book Madness! Day 22, A Book For Each of My Initials

March Book Madness! Day 24, My Life in Books Tag

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March Book Madness! Day 11, Eva Ibbotson’s Which Witch (1979) 5/5

Not the cover I’m used to, but it will do.

Book Details

Children’s Fantasy

Arriman the Awful, feared Wizard of the North, has decided to marry. But his wife must be a witch of the darkest powers . . .

A sorcery competition is held to discover which witch is the most potent and fiendish, and glamorous Madame Olympia conjures up a thousand plague-bearing rats Belladonna, the white witch, desperately wants to be a wicked enchantress, but her magic produces flowers instead of snakes. How can she become more devilish than all the other witches? 

Goodreads Overview

Witty, Funny, and Altogether Charming

Which Witch is another one of my childhood favorites! While I was going through my Harry Potter phase (which I haven’t quite grown out of. 🙂 ), I needed other books to fill my time. My mother insisted. I might have read the first four Harry Potter books ten or more times each. I found Ibbotson’s quirky, witch romance when I was eleven or so, and I’ve loved it ever since! 

The Narrative

Ibbotson has a similar writing style to Diana Wynne Jones, but without as much sass. The whole premise of Which Witch is Arriman needs to marry to keep the balance of evil. But he doesn’t want to marry a witch. . . because they are ugly and have weird habits. His somewhat arrogant personality, mixed in with brilliant prose and sarcastic banter makes this book just as charming for adults as it does for children.

Ibbotson has a magical way of writing children’s stories. When I was young, Ibbotson’s quirky characters happily danced along every page of the book. The tone in this story feels somewhat like Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl, where horrible things happen but they’re brushed off with dry, British humor. 

The Characters

All the characters, except for Belladonna, are wonderfully strange and awful. Each witch has too much ambition for their own good and is ugly enough to make Arriman regret being talked into marrying anyone. Some of my favorite moments in the book were between Arriman and his butler Lester because Lester acts more like a lamentable teenager’s nanny than part of his staff.

I have nothing bad to say about any of the characters. They fit well within this delightfully, snarky Beauty Pageant esque love story. (Except the beauty contestants are ugly contestants.) I do like the good witch Belladonna and I’m glad she got her happy ending along with Terence.

Who is this book for?

Lovers of Roald Dahl’s many charming children’s books, Diana Wynne Jones’ book Howl’s Moving Castle, or Philip Ardagh‘s Eddie Dickens Trilogy will really enjoy this book’s delightfully disgusting witches and reluctant, whiney groom.

Favorite Quotes

Arriman could not see Belladonna, who was hidden behind a thorn tree, but he could see Mabel Wrack, whose sea slug had fallen over one eye, and Ethel Feedbag, a burnt jackdaw feather sticking to her chin. He cuold see Mother Bloodwort and he could see the Shouter twins, and when he’d seen them he turned and tried to scramble down the rock.

Belladonna: ‘Tell me, is he really . . . as marvelous as he looks?’

Mr. Leadbetter thought. Pictures came to mind. Arriman shrieking with rage when he lost his suspenders. Arriman filling the bath with electric eels and giggling. Arriman ordering twelve stinking emus for the zoo and leaving his secretary to unpack them . . .

Arriman was as happy as a lark. Whatever else happened, he wouldn’t have to marry the with with the Wellies. all through supper he laughed and joked until he went upstairs, heard the steady drip-drip of water, and found that the kraken had climbed onto his bed.

March Book Madness! Day 10, Gregory Maguire’s Egg and Spoon (2014) 3.5/5

March Book Madness! Day 12, My Top 20 Favorite Books/Series