The NOPE Book Tag

NOPE!  Ending: a book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage or simply because the ending was crappy.

Satan’s Gambit by Brian Moses. Trilogy had been going swell and then the author decided to go all tv show Supernatural and totally got the story off track with bad theology, even for a fantasy book.

NOPE!  Protagonist: a main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

Ott from The Night of the Swarm by Robert Redick. I abandoned the book and will never read another by this author because of this character.

NOPE!  Pairing: a “ship” you don’t support.

Ross Poldark and Demelza. He’s still in love with his old flame and she’s like 15.

NOPE!  Plot twist: a twist you didn’t see coming and didn’t like.

The 47th Samurai. When the main character Bob Lee Swagger becomes an Insta-Samurai and defeats a guy who has been practicing his whole life. It was bogus.

NOPE!  Genre: a genre you will never read.

I would normally choose “Romance”, but I have read a couple, including Venetia, so it is kind of hard to say “Never”.

NOPE! Book format: book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition.

Mass market paperback. With my diabetic eyes, Reading on my Kindle Oasis is about the only way I roll now.

NOPE! Death: a character death that still haunts you.

Alyss, the wife of Will Treaty from the Ranger’s Apprentice series. It did not need to be.

NOPE!  Book: a book that shouldn’t have existed.

Flashman. The vilest book I have read in a very long time!

And that is enough for me. There are a bunch more questions below that you can choose to use if you feel like doing this tag, but I’m all Nope’d out. Cheers!

NOPE! Trope: a trope that makes you go NOPE.

NOPE! Recommendation: a book recommendation that is constantly pushed at you, that you simply refuse to read.

NOPE! Cliche: a cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

NOPE! Love interest: the love interest that’s not worthy of being one.

NOPE! Villain: a villain you would hate to cross.

NOPE! Author: an author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

The FRIENDS Book Tag

The Friends Book Tag

Ross: Seems harmless, but problematic – Name a book you had problems with
(I don’t think Ross was problematic, I just think he was a complete wuss and manboy who needed to be beaten up a couple of times to toughen him up.)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I can’t even write how much Harry annoyed me by the end of the series. If he had died, I would have been happy.

Monica: neat and tidy – Name a book/series that ends satisfyingly

The Gods Return by David Drake. I started my review with “A VERY satisfying ending”. Can’t ask much more than that, right?

Chandler: funny and relatable – Name a firm fave

Han Solo’s Revenge by Brian Daley. Before the Star Wars Expanded Universe, there were standalone stories about some of the characters. Solo had his own trilogy. I read it in middle school or highschool and liked it so much that later in life I tracked down the hardcovers for the trilogy and paid a premium for them. The almost completely orange cover is what I actually remember most about the library paperback I read all those years ago.

Phoebe: reliable and friendly – An author you always rely on

Neal Asher. Period. Even when a character is barfing and pooping in WAY MORE DETAIL than I ever wanted, I can rely on him for an action packed story that grabs me and won’t let go.

Rachel: she grows on you over time – Name a book/series that’s grown on you over time

The Monster Hunter International series by Larry Correia. I enjoyed the first book but ripped into it pretty good in the review. And now, I am actively looking forward to the next book, book 9.

Joey: looks good on the outside – A book whose cover is better than its contents

Department 19. The cover looked awesome with all the guns, knives, helmets and weapons. Inside was a morass of teen stupidity and the purest drivel that I’ve read in a long time. The author should stick a turkey on their head in penance!

Bonus Friend

Gunther: always there, always ignored – A book you’ve had on your TBR forever
(I had to go look up who Gunther even was! I guess he was the coffee shop owner? Definitely forgettable.)

A Study in Brimstone, the first in the Warlock Holmes series. I’ve been waiting for the series to finish up, but the author seems to be acting like a jackass so I’m not sure when I’ll ever get to this. I WANT to get to it though.

The Weather Tag


The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. The humor was delicious and just tickled my funny bone the whole time I was reading.


Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Jones. I’m pretty sure I read this in one sitting because it was just so fantastic at the time.


The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen. While I’m not usually one for artwork appreciation, this artwork “blew me away”. I used those exact words too, which is why I immediately thought of it for this category 🙂


Count Brass by Michael Moorcock. The book ends with Hawkmoon (the main character) waking up from a madness and finding out his wife and children only ever existed in his mind. I don’t know what is sadder than that!


The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks. This middle book of the Lightbringer series lived up to my extremely high expectations. That doesn’t happen very often.


Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan. It was bloody, grim and gritty but once I got into the story itself, It was fantastic.

The Five Points of Calvinism: The TULIP Tag

Mrs Mugrage (also known as “That Neanderthal Nut” to her close friends) recently took up a gauntlet I had thrown down several years ago. I was bemoaning the lack of serious tags and considered trying to create one myself. That obviously didn’t happen. BUT Mrs M was more than equal to the challenge and this tag is the result. I was pretty impressed.

Back in 2017 (or, you might say, in “eternity past”), Bookstooge put up a request for a “serious” book tag. At that time, I did not even know that Bookstooge existed (hard as that is to imagine). But in the providence of God, I stumbled upon that forlorn request recently, and this is the result.

The Five Points of Calvinism

These five points are not all of Christian theology, or even all of Reformed theology. There is a lot more to it, and it’s all good stuff. These five topics are simply things that Jacob Arminius and his followers disputed in the early 1600s, after the Reformation was well under way and John Calvin had been writing for some time. All of this caused a huge kerfuffle in the Dutch Reformed churches, and eventually, in 1619, the Synod of Dort adopted the Canons of Dort which answered the Arminians’ objections point by point. So, though these five points are not the whole of Reformed theology, they do represent some of the doctrines that people are most likely to have issues with, as demonstrated by Arminius, his followers, and in fact most people down to this day.

Due to their Dutch character, the five points, if put in terms that are somewhat misleading, can be shoehorned into the acrostic TULIP:

T – Total Depravity

U – Unconditional Election

L – Limited Atonement

I – Irresistible Grace

P – Perseverance of the Saints

Because this is a tag, I’m not going to parse or defend these points deeply. I’ll just explain each one in a short paragraph, then apply it to a book tag purpose. Since these things deal with the nature of man and God, they turn out to be fruitful for reminding us of our literary experiences.

T – Total Depravity

Arminius taught that people are free in their will to choose God or reject him. The doctrine of total depravity (or “sin nature”) holds instead that people, if left to themselves, are spiritually dead and will never voluntarily seek God. (Dead people cannot choose things.)

Name a book or a series that you appreciate for its jaundiced or realistic portrayal of human nature.

The Plague by Albert Camus. While I hated the story, Camus did an excellent job of portraying humanity in a horrible situation. It’s a classic for a reason.

U – Unconditional Election

Election means that God chooses to draw some people to Himself, making alive their hearts so that they are then able to seek, hear, and trust in Him. Arminians taught that God elects people for salvation in this way on the basis of some quality in them, such as humility, faith, “responding to the light they have,” etc. The doctrine of unconditional election holds that God does not choose people because they are better than other people. He chooses them just because He wants to.

Name a book where someone chooses someone else unconditionally.

Wrong Number, the first volume in the Oh My Goddess! manga series. Even though Belldandy “had” to fulfill Keiichi’s wish, as the series progresses it is evident that Belldandy chooses Keiichi even when she doesn’t have to. Good lovey dovey stuff 😀

L – Limited Atonement

The most confusing of the five points as far as I am concerned, Limited Atonement means that Christ’s death was actually just for “his people” – those God chose to elect – not for everyone generally. If it were for everyone generally, and some people rejected salvation, that would mean that God’s work in salvation was ineffective in some cases, which would throw the determining factor back onto the individual.

This point is confusing for two reasons: 1) Since we don’t know who is going to be saved, we are commanded to proclaim the good news to everyone as if they were all elect. 2) We know that the number of those who believe will be a very great number, enough that Christ can be said to have saved “the whole world.” So, “limited” does not mean a small number of people.

This is one of those fine distinctions that is kind of hard to squeeze down into a two-word phrase, which then fits into a flower acrostic.

Name a book that has a complex, confusing, or seemingly unworkable philosophy behind its worldbuilding.

The Culture novels by Iain Banks, typified in The Player of Games. Banks posits a completely materialistic society and has it operating at near-Utopian levels. The philosophy was so outside of what we know about humanity that I gave up on the series after the 3rd book.

I – Irresistible Grace

When God chooses someone, He works on their heart, giving them a new heart with a will that is now able to choose Him. This also frees their mind to be able to hear and understand His word (since, as we know, our intellect is embarrassingly tied up with our will). When this happens, they freely choose Him, now that their will has been freed from the sin that bound it. It is never the case that God gives someone a new heart, and they then reject Him. His grace is irresistible.

What book did you find irresistible?

The Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd. First that cover just dragged me in and then the story itself was everything I wanted from a flintlock fantasy. It was so engaging and pushed all the right buttons for me. It has only been 4 years since I read it, so a re-read isn’t in the works quite yet, but….. I am looking forward to see how it holds up. A great book must be re-readable.

P – Perseverance of the Saints

This doctrine means that once someone has been regenerated, heard God’s word, and begun to believe, they will not ultimately, or permanently, fall away. You cannot “lose your salvation.” This is a very comforting doctrine, for without it, we tend to panic every time we fall into sin (or have some previously unnoticed sin revealed to us that, unfortunately, has been with us all along).

Name one of your favorite redemption arcs in a book or movie.

The redemption of Darth Vader in The Jedi Doth Return. If someone who is as evil as Darth Vader was, can be redeemed, then there is hope for any of us. It is also made clear that he was redeemed by Luke’s love and faith in him, not because of what he did at the end. The action was the result of Luke’s conviction.

And there we go. A Serious Tag. It took me a week to answer these questions, as I wanted to give them serious thought. Thank you Mrs M, this was great!

The JigSAW Book Tag

Here we go. Not going to link to the creator, per usual. Thankfully, there don’t appear to be any silly rules that I need to ignore either. That’s a good way to start a book tag

1.) You wake up in The Room, who wakes up with you?

Someone You Choose –
The Brains –
Tyrus Rechs from Galaxy’s Edge. Took a nuke to kill that guy. If he could escape the Savages, Jigsaw should present no problem
The Brawn –
Spawn. He might be stupid as a brick, but his superdevil powers make him a force to be reckoned with.

Someone Jigsaw Would Choose –
Little Dorrit. Because no one would ever suspect a little girl in a room full of big strong men, never!

Someone On The Outside Looking For You –
Thraxas. Promise him a beer and he’s a detective you can count on!

2.) You’re starting the game and the first puzzle takes someone out; who dies first?

Thraxas. The beer was poisoned, just in case the hidden Mastermind got thirsty and wanted to chug it. It was worth a shot, right?

3.) You’ve made it to the steam room. You need a partner to go through the maze while you switch a lever to shoot hot steam for them to make it through. Who is your partner?

Tyrus Rechs. His armor will allow him to navigate even if he can’t see. Plus, we’ve come up with a clever plan to hunt the hunter.

4.) Oops, your partner died! Now you are strapped to the Shotgun Carousel. Who do you shoot in the face?

It’s all going according to plan. Little Dorrit gets a face full of lead. Because if movies have taught me anything, it’s that innocent looking little girls are usually what kill you in the end.

5.) You and the last character are about to escape. Then Billy the Puppet strolls in and tells you it’s up to a coin toss to see who survives. Heads you survive, tails the other character survives.

Surprise! Tyrus pops out of a hatch and shoots Billy with a lazer gun. Spawn teleports away to where the Mastermind is hiding and brings him back to the torture chamber. We tie him in front of a tv and put on My Little Ponies: The Power of Friendship, ON LOOP, and slow-motion walk away. Yeah, we’re that bad ass.

You don’t mess with The Bookstooge, MoFo’s!

The Nightmare Before Christmas Tag

I couldn’t find an actual Christmas Tag on my list of 100 Tags so this had to do. I probably could have searched for one, but who wants to do work for a tag post? Not me! If you don’t know anything about the animated movie, here’s the wiki link: Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas.

Sally – A book with a character who loves someone so much and actually gets them in the end

Captain Wentworth in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. He never stopped loving Anne and his second foray onto the field of romantic battle was successful. Go get’em tiger!

Jack Skelliington – A book with a character who longs for more

Sebastian Nightingale Cain in Mike Resnick’s Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future. He starts out as a bounty hunter going after the infamous Santiago, only to realize just what Santiago stands for and ends up taking on Santiago’s legacy to continue The Good Work.

Zero – a book with a loyal sidekick

Wayne in Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. He’s right there by Wax’s side, ready to cover his back if a fight, allomantic or otherwise, starts to get intense.

Oogie Boogie – A book with a wicked villain

Light Yagami from the manga Death Note by Ohba & Obata. Light starts out as wanting Justice on a world wide level but quickly descends into megalomania with the power of the Death Note at his command. Throughout the series his coldblooded manipulation and murder of anyone around him is truly horrifying.

Halloween Town – A book with a weird or creepy theme

The entire Necroscope series by Brian Lumley. Vampires at their evilest and ruling another world and trying to take over ours. And we’re not talking sparkly or even good looking vampires. These things are sluglike and bond with your nervous system, ughhhhhhh…..

Christmas Town – a book that left you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. Read it almost a decade ago and I still remember how wonderfully delightful this story was.

Thanksgiving Book Tag

Here in American we celebrate Thanksgiving in November. Here’s a tag that’s been around since about 2014 as far as I can tell. Staying power, that’s important in a tag.

1. Bread- What book is purely fluff, and has no real plot line?

The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock. Running around fighting battles just to die at the end of the series isn’t much of a plot. Fun and interesting yes, but plotfilled, no.

2. Turkey- What book made you want to fall asleep?

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. I read it 20 years ago and still remember it as the most boring book I have ever read. It takes real talent to be that boring.

3. Gravy- What book makes the whole series worth reading?

Cobra by Timothy Zahn. While the rest of the series pretty much plateaued, on the strength of this one book I read 8 more.

4. Stuffing- What book is stuffed full of action scenes?

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. This is in essence a 500-600 page battle scene with 150 pages of other stuff before and after.

5. Mashed Potatoes- What book looked good, and then wasn’t?

Ok, I gotta stop here a minute. What kind of person created this tag and then goes and casts such aspersions on mashed potatoes? Mashed potatoes are my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. If I could only pick one part of Thanksgiving Dinner to eat, it would be mashed potatoes. So this question is just wrong. So I’m changing it to the Correct Question.

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. That cover just looks cool and the story inside is even cooler.

6. Cranberries- What book has the sweetest romance?

Seriously? You hate on the Potatoes and then give the Cranberries an embarrassment of riches. Creator of this Tag, I’m beginning to doubt your sanity! But I will play your twisted little game and best you, for I am Bookstooge the Inscrutable, HEAR ME ROAR!

I am going to choose Wrong Number, the first volume of the Oh My Goddess! manga by Kosuke Fujishima.

7. Corn- What’s the corniest book you’ve ever read?

The entire Asterix series really. It is 50’ish pages at a time of puns and wordplays that are clever, childish and funny, all at the same time.

8. Green beans- What book is too long and needs to be shortened?

The Crippled God by Steven Erikson. I went and looked through my Calibre library sorted by page count. This was the longest and lowest rated that I could come up with. If Erikson had written to fill one page

“And then the collective universe had diarrhea and covered the entire world in shit. The End”

it wouldn’t have been any worse than what he did write in close to 1000 pages.

9. Pumpkin Pie- What book do you read to get out of a reading slump?

I actually have several and decide which to read by last one read. Considering that I haven’t had a real reading slump for years though (due to the awesome nature of my reading rotation) I don’t really give this a thought anymore.

10. Dog/Cat- What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food that you would steal from the table?

I don’t understand this question. How does it relate to books at all? It would appear to be just a food question, how ….. peculiar. Well, being peculiar never stopped me before. I’m going to go with Mandarin Orange Jello Salad with Marshmallows.

And that’s a wrap!

Fall Book Tag

It is that time of year again here in North America. The temperatures are slowly falling, the air has a zing to it that it hasn’t had before and that wretched “pumpkin spice” is now invading every eatable that it possibly can!


The Tar-Aiym Krang by Alan Dean Foster. This was the start of the Pip & Flinx series and at this first book, the whole universe was fresh and new. We won’t talk about the later books :-/


Corum: The Prince with the Silver Hand by Michael Moorcock. This was the precursor to Grimdark and when the happy ending didn’t happen even though the hero had done everything he was supposed to, it did blow my mind. That’s not how stories were supposed to go. I’ve experienced a lot in the 20+ years since I read Corum but I’ll not forget that initial feeling.


Galactic Odyssey by Keith Laumer. For me, this is the SF equivalent of the Hobbit. I re-read it on a semi-regular basis and enjoy it over and over again. It is a comforting story of a young man fighting overwhelming odds and winning.


Sentenced to Prism by Alan Dean Foster (again). Not only is the cover colorful, but the essence of the story is filled with prismatic colors as well.


War Against the Mafia by Don Pendleton. The first book in the Mack Bolan/Executioner series. This was the series that caused me to create the Ultra-Violence tag.


Right now, probably Jack Four by Neal Asher. The latest in his Polity series. I auto-read anything by Asher as his mix of Sf and violence is right up my alley.

And that wraps up this tag. Well, after that I think I’m ready for Spring. I don’t mind skipping Winter one bit!

The Adventure Book Tag

I am not sure if aliens threw up or if some yarn was having a mutant baby, but that picture is what we get for this tag. I’m guessing trying to figure it out is the Adventure?

Which character would you love to go on an adventure with?

Asterix and Obelix. What could be more fun than a couple of fun loving Gauls who happen to be nigh invincible?

If you could be any character for the day, who would you be and why?

Corran Horn, a most honorable Jedi. He was the main character in the novel I, Jedi and played a large role in the New Jedi Order series. Flying an X-Wing starfighter sounds like an adventure to me. Doing it while swinging a lightsaber just sounds awesome.

What book  is on your TBR bucket list? 

No One Like Him by John Feinberg. I started this back in ’18 and realized by the end of the introduction that I simply wasn’t ready for this. Feinberg’s thesis on the nature of God is not lightly undertaken.

Which book has a contemporary setting you would love to go to?

Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip. A world in which knights ride motorcycles and beam weapons are wielded against dragons? Yes please!

Which book has a fantasy/fictional setting you would love to go to? 

Talion: Revenant was the quintessential fantasy book for me growing up. Nothing like a medieval setting to make the dreams flow!

What book or book edition would you do anything to get your hands on? 

The Original 10 Commandments. Talk about a collectors item!

Name a character who is very adventurous and daring. 

Percy Jackson from the Lightning Thief. This boy knows how to find trouble without even trying.

Name the craziest or weirdest place you’ve ever read a book.

You know, I really don’t do crazy or weird. In fact, I don’t do “Adventures”. It’s a running joke between Mrs B and I now how much I hate new things because they always turn into “adventures”. I prefer my adventures to stay inside the books where it’s nice and safe. For me.


Life in Books Tag

1. Find a book for each of your initials

B: Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (Inheritance Cycle #3)

S: Salute the Dark by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Shadows of the Apt #4)

2. Count your age along your bookshelf – what book is it?

You’ll notice the question states Bookshelf, singular. For me, that is simply ridiculous. With 10 and counting, it all depends on I where I feel like starting. But to play along with this naive little question….

43: The Harmony of the Four Gospels by Joseph B Harriman (a unique take on harmonizing the Four Gospels into a One Year Ministry instead of the traditional 3 year ministry)

3. A book set in your city/country

USA: Into the Looking Glass by John Ringo. Military SF at its finest!

4. A book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to

Albion: The Paradise War by Stephen Lawhead. A world where magic is real and the warrior ethos is alive and well.

5. A book that’s your favorite color

Green: Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold! by Terry Brooks.

6. Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

Way-Farer by Dennis Schmidt. I end up mentioning this book almost every other tag it feels like but man, it has just been one of those books for me ever since my formative teen years.

7. Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

The Many Faces of Evil by John Feinberg. Took me many months to slowly work my way this excellent book. Probably about time for a re-read just to refresh myself.

8. Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

New Evidences that Demand a Verdict by Josh McDowell. Read this back in the 90’s and reading it again has really helped strengthen my Christian Faith.

Thank goodness I was able to actually complete this tag. After the Complete Failure of the Relationshipping Tag post I was a little worried that my tagging days were over and that I would be relegated to sitting on my rocker yelling at the kids to stop doing such dumbass tags AND to get off my lawn.

But nope, I still got it!