Tag Time: “In or Out”

June 13, 2023

It’s time for the “In or Out” book tag!

I grabbed this tag from Dini @ dinipandareads because it looked like too much fun to skip!

Most of these questions are about tropes, which I love discussing. I think they can really make or break a book, especially when it comes to marketing. I’m also a pretty strong believer in the idea that just about any trope can be done well, just like any trope can be done poorly.

This tag was originally created by Rick MacDonnell!

1. Reading the last page first:

Nope – OUT! I honestly don’t even see the point in this unless you’re just a person who absolutely hates cliffhangers, maybe? Otherwise, if you start with the last page, you don’t have any context for what is happening and it isn’t going to tell you much about the book’s contents.

2. Enemies to lovers:

If this tells you anything, my spouse bought me a huge “enemies to lovers” bookish candle for Christmas once that is layered with the first half smelling like peppermint and the second half smelling like cinnamon (brilliant, I know). 😂 So… YES, I’m in!

3. Dream sequences:

I’ve seen this done well a few times, but I’m typically OUT for this one. I think the only time I really like it is when it’s short and just to establish a backstory, like maybe depicting the source of a character’s grief or fears or something.

4. Love triangles:

Out for the most part. I’ve been okay with a few that I’ve read, but usually, it’s annoying AND makes it hard for me to believe in the end game romance because, you know, “never make someone a priority when they only see you as an option” or whatever.

5. Cracked spines:

Out! In my experience, super cracked spines = less stability for the pages to stay in long-term (plus I don’t like how they look).

6. Back to my small town:

Oh, totally in, especially in contemporary romances. I love small-town settings for romance books and it just adds something so fun when one of the characters is dealing with people they’ve known forever (bonus points if there’s a funny, eccentric old person who’s known them since they were in diapers).

7. Monsters are regular people:

Hmm, are we talking about “shapeshifters are part of normal society” in paranormal fantasy, or are we talking about “the real monsters are humans doing terrible things to each other” in horror/thrillers?

Either way, in. 😂


8. No paragraph breaks:

No. NOOOOO. NO! Out.

9. Multi-generational sagas:

Mostly out. I tend to lose interest when shows or books introduce “the next generation”.

10. Re-reading:

Absolutely IN!

11. Artificial intelligence:

In, especially if the AI is a villain whose motives make logical sense (like AIDAN in The Illuminae Files).

12. Drop caps:

In, they’re pretty!

13. Happy endings:

Absolutely in, though they aren’t a requirement for me except in romance (obviously) and a STRONG preference in romantasy.

14. Plot points that only converge at the end:

If it’s done well, YES, 100% in. Catriona Ward is an author who is brilliant at this; she can leave you the most subtle trail of bread crumbs that you don’t notice until the end, when suddenly everything makes sense!

15. Detailed magic systems:

Honestly… I can go either way on this one. As long as the book is good otherwise, I’m fairly content just accepting that the magic comes from unicorn sparkles and fairy poop or whatever.

16. Classic fantasy races:

As in dwarves, elves, etc.? I can go either way. I love non-human characters, but I tend to prefer fae (or other similar folklore-based beings) and shifters.

17. Unreliable narrators:

In! I especially love it when you don’t even know they’re unreliable at first, and then bam, suddenly you’re second-guessing everything. 👀

18. Evil protagonists:

In! We don’t see this often enough, especially in fantasy.

19. The chosen one:

Maybe an unpopular opinion here, but… in! I kind of love the whole “prophecy foretold” deal. 😅

20. When the protagonist dies:

Out – I actually kind of hate this a lot and don’t think I’ve ever read a book that was made better by including this trope (unless it was a temporary death).

21. Really long chapters:

It’s not my favorite, but I can go either way.

22. French flaps:

In! They’re so nice!

23. Deckled edges:

I can take them or leave them.

24. Signed copies by the author:

In! Who doesn’t love a signed copy?

25. Dog-earing pages:

Out for the most part, though I will on rare occasion if I’m in a pinch and know it’s a book I don’t plan on giving away or selling when I’m finished (and of course never a borrowed/library book!).

26. Chapter titles instead of numbers:

In – they’re so much fun! (though they do make scheduling buddy read sections a little harder, lol)

💖 TAGS 💖

If you see this, TAG, you’re it!



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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. I admit that I used to read the last page of book but only when it was making me very anxious and I just had to know what was going to happen to the characters. I got out of doing this years ago though. But sometimes I still get the urge to peek when again the book is making me very anxious.

      1. Ooh I feel you on that, I will say that every now and then (rarely nowadays) I’ll do that too! But only if I’m already pretty far into the book – I don’t think I’ve ever done it before starting the book at all.

    1. I just finally posted my answers to another tag you did, and now I come here and find a new one to do, haha. I think I need that candle, I just love both of those scents. I am also not into dream sequences or multi gen sagas. But that’s funny, I don’t really care about french flaps either way, but I do like deckled edges!

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