Following tradition on this blog, the month of June means that at some point… we’ve got to do the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag. I love this tag because it’s so widely used in the community… but also from a personal perspective, it’s a time capsule for me and my reading experience. Every year I continue to nod to the posts of the past so I can see what has changed… and all the books I “really want to read” that I still haven’t read.
This year’s post is coming a little bit late – I know, I’m sorry! – but we’re squeaking it in just in time before the end of the month.
WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK THAT YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2021?
I kinda want to pick Tess of the Road again for this one – not because I haven’t read any other good books, but because I love it SO. MUCH. Nevertheless I am resisting because Tess got love in 2018.
At first, I was thinking this is a bit of a toss up between They Both Die at the End and Miss Meteor. Both books I enjoyed a lot and would easily recommend to anyone. Then I remembered – just a couple weeks ago I finished reading Firekeeper’s Daughter. I absolutely loved this book and I am so glad it’s gotten all the hype it has. It’s a bit of a different twist for me in “favorites” since for the first time running this tag, it’s not a fantasy novel, but it is good. Great setting, great characters, great rep, ahhh I loved it so much.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE SEQUEL OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR?
It should be absolutely no surprise that my favorite sequel of 2021 is a book in the same series as my favorite book in 2020. I read the Gold Seer trilogy faster than I’ve read any series in a while, finishing with Into the Bright Unknown earlier this year. While as a standalone it’s probably not the best book in the world, I loved the overall series so much that I just had to give some love to this book and trilogy once again.
IS THERE A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT YOU’RE REALLY EXCITED FOR?
I actually only have three new releases on my shelf right now that I haven’t read yet, which for me is pretty awesome. They are Kate in Waiting, Hurricane Summer, and Blood Like Magic. They’re all pretty different as far as genre and topics go, but I’m looking forward to all of them. Probably the one I’m looking forward to the most on this list is Kate in Waiting, because I’ve been waiting for it for months and months and it’s a theatre book and Beck Albertalli, so I think I’m going to enjoy it.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR?
This one is easy! The Bronzed Beasts. I have loved Roshani Chokshi’s Gilded Wolves trilogy and The Bronzed Beasts is the only one I haven’t asked for an ARC so I could read it early. I think I missed the window on it because I’ve really been stepping back on ARCs as a whole but now I’m just dying to know how the story ends! If you haven’t read The Gilded Wolves and The Silvered Serpents I can’t recommend this trilogy highly enough – Chokshi’s writing style is beautiful, her characters vibrant, and her worlds intriguing.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT SO FAR?
Oof, this one is easy. Ready Player Two.
I really should have been ready to be let down by this one – all the early reviews called it rubbish for various reasons. The reason I disliked it the most was because I felt that Wade was no longer a worthy protagonist and as a result, the entire book came off as entitled and whiny. There were so many other characters with more interesting stories and we’re stuck with this fool? No thanks.
That said, I still wholeheartedly recommend Ready Player One. But please, skip the sequel.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SURPRISE SO FAR?
The Psych Reading Challenge I participated in doing the first half of the year provided a couple of surprises! There were books I read, loved, and kept even though upon starting them I thought I’d be donating them. I think the biggest of these was Death Prefers Blondes. I thought this rich girl con book was going to be pretentious and a quick throwaway, but it wasn’t. There was comedy and tragedy and proper villains and a surprising amount of respectful conversation and I’d really like a sequel to find out what happens to everyone.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE NEW TO YOU, OR DEBUT, AUTHOR?
So far, I think this falls to Adam Silvera. I know people have been talking about how much they love his books for ages, but I only just got around to reading They Both Die at the End and not only were there some unique elements of style I really enjoyed, but Silvera certainly knows how to pull is readers’ heartstrings. I respect an author who has no problem killing his characters so blatantly. And that’s not even a spoiler – the title of the book is literally they both die at the end. I’m looking forward to reading more of his work and seeing if it’s just as impactful.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE LOVE STORY FROM THIS YEAR?
Even though it was just a novella, I absolutely adored the love story in This is How You Lose the Time War. Red and Blue’s relationship from enemies to lovers (ish) literally transcends time and space. The writing in this novella is also absolutely beautifully and I think the hype its gotten over the last few years is extremely well-deserved.
2020’s Answer: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Original Question: Who is your favourite fictional crush from this year?
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER?
This is easily one of the most challenging questions in this tag. I either fall in love with a bunch of characters, or I don’t really “love” any of them.
This is another year where I’m struggling to find a best-of-the-best-of-the-best. Tess from Tess of the Road obviously but we’ve already gone over how I can’t use that book to answer every question. Talin from Skyhunter is good. I also liked both Chicky and Lia from Miss Meteor. I think this one goes to Chicky and Lita because not only were they amazing solo, but their friendship was wonderful as well.
A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY?
Okay, okay, I have to use Tess of the Road for ONE of the answers though. This is the first book in four years that makes the list because it wasn’t tears of rage, but something personal digging into my heart. I have now either read or listened to Tess of the Road three times and even on the third read it still made me cry. I’m not sure if I am tired of crying during this book, or continually amazed at how easily it stabs my heart and tugs on my empathy. Either way, respect.
A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY?
I have read so many serious books this year that it’s getting a bit depressing. I’m reading them sort of on purpose because I want to diversify my authors and while I’m doing it, I find myself pretty aggravated that most of them are issue books or super depressing. Not that those stories aren’t important, but publishers – come on. Pick up some books about JOY from these authors.
As such, the books I’ve been reading in 2021 haven’t really “made me happy”. I’m going to give this to a coffee table comic book – In Love & Pajamas. I read it in about 15 minutes but texted my husband I think 20 spreads saying “look it’s us” so that made me smile.
YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK TO MOVIE/ TV SHOW THAT YOU’VE SEEN SO FAR?
I haven’t really heard people talking about it, but they should be because the Moxie adaptation that came out earlier this year is fantastic. It wasn’t overly romanticized as teen movies tend to be. It also wasn’t perfect to the book. It was a fabulous movie with a good balance of rage and comedy and girl power and kinship. I put it on to do my book vs. movie and managed to draw my husband in, who agrees with my analysis. If you have Netflix and you haven’t seen Moxie yet, grab some popcorn and settle in for a great film.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE POST THAT YOU’VE WRITTEN SO FAR THIS YEAR?
I think my favorite posts are all ahead of me because travel is coming back. The second half of 2021 is going to be so filled with different travel-related posts and nobody is more excited to write these than I am! I bought a new lens and filter for my DSLR to try and get the best pictures I can at my skill level, and it’s going to be awesome y’all.
From what I’ve written so far this year… I worked really hard on my Why I Keep Planning Vacations (Even Though Travel is Uncertain) post. I know it’s not specifically bookish, but it is something I’m passionate about and I miss so much.
2020’s Answer: Indie Bookstores Need You Right Now
2019’s Answer: Integrity in the Community: Do We Really Like Things, or Are We Praising Because We Want Free Stuff?.
2018’s Answer: The 90s Kid Book Tag.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK THAT YOU HAVE BOUGHT?
I’ve already given it appreciation in a cover analysis post as well as its own review, but I really like the cover of Skyhunter. About half of my predictions were wrong when I was analyzing the cover to learn about the book… but not all of them! I really like the subtleties in the details and the neon colors as well – it stands out to me as a beautiful design. I will say that in general Marie Lu’s books tend to have pretty covers. But Skyhunter is my favorite
WHAT ARE 6 BOOKS THAT YOU WANT TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?
This section is always a bit hilarious to me because I almost never end up reading the books because my hardcopy is ruled by my TBR Jar (and now preorders, which I still think was a smart upgrade to my system). I still really want to read the books from last year, but who knows when it will happen.
Yes, I know, cheat on the TBR Jar. But it does me more good than harm by mixing up genres and putting books in my hands that my mood-reader self would have procrastinated on. I respect the system because in general it treats me well.
This year, all my selections are either in line on my audiobook TBR or else they are preorders. I’m hoping going this route will ensure by next June at least a couple of them have been read. In 2021, I’m taking the TBR Jar out of the equation. Hah.
2020’s Answer: Trickster’s Choice, The Bell Jar, The Bone Houses, Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Kingdom, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
2019’s Answer: Rebel Girls, Steel Crow Saga, Who Put This Song On?, Shadow Frost, Scars Like Wings, The Good Luck Girls.
2018’s Answer: Catch up on the 2018 Debut Author Challenge
Will you be participating in the mid-year freak out book tag this year? If so, drop your link in the comments! If not… feel free to steal these prompts and link back because I’d love to see how you all are doing on your reading journeys this year.