Does this tag even need an introduction?
The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag is my favorite tag to do every year. I like looking back on the books I read so far in the year. It gets me motivated to keep going. I also use it to plan my reading for the rest of the year. Of all the ones I’ve done previously, I think 2020 is my favorite.
So, let’s get right to it then.
The best book you’ve read so far this year
I’ve read a lot of genuinely good books in 2020. As of writing this, I have given eighteen books 5 stars. One of those books was a reread. Twelve were picture books I read for my children’s literature class. Those were based more on my enjoyment than anything else. But it’s a tie between To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace and Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff for the best book of the year so far.
Your favorite sequel this year
Easily Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which put me in the biggest book hangover of my life. I found little to no fault with it. I loved all the character arcs and the world building. Another sequel I enjoyed so far this year is The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead, the second book in the Bloodlines series.
A new release that you haven’t read yet but really want to
A lot…a few I already own is My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Manon, and The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. Other new releases I want to read but do not own yet are Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo; Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed; My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows; Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams; and The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu.
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
The two releases I need in my life as soon as yesterday are Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco and A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir. I plan on finishing the remaining books by the respective authors in the coming months, close to the release date for these new ones. Because I don’t know what I would do with myself without the fantasy and the angst.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins was a let-down, but you were expecting that weren’t you? In all fairness, I went into that book with low expectations. Other books that truly disappointed me were Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and Sabrina by Nick Drnaso.
I had a few surprises in 2020. The first was The Winter King by C.L. Wilson. For an adult fantasy romance with ten-page sex scenes, the plot had a lot more depth than I expected. The romance was slow-burn and the world building was entertaining. The next was the Bloodlines series, at least books 1 to 3. I had not expected to like the series or the characters as much as I did. Lastly, is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which is technically a reread. It impacted me more this time around, having been through everything I did in the four years since I first read it.
Favorite new to you or debut author
Hmmm…I don’t quite have an answer for this one. Most of the new to me authors I’ve only read one book of, so it’s hard to say for sure. Two I want to read more of is Nic Stone and C.L. Wilson. There is also a middle grade author, Erin Entrada Kelly, whose book Hello, Universe I read for my children’s literature class, that I want to look into.
Your new fictional crush
Maybe it’s a sign of me getting older, but I did not have a lot of new fictional crushes this year. The only exception this year is Wynter Atrialan, the male lead of The Winter King by C.L. Wilson. He was not one of those morally gray bad-boy love interests. Wynter was truly a good, honorable man, who wanted to do the right thing for his people. Even if it meant sacrificing his humanity.
New favorite character
As much as everyone else seems to not like her, my new favorite character is Sydney Sage, the protagonist of the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. I relate to her; she’s an intellectual that lives too much inside her head but always puts her responsibilities first. She is also not the best at picking up on social cues, which I too identify with. While I understand her reluctance to be with Adrian is frustrating to others, I understood it. She grew up in a society that viewed vampires as evil beings. That doesn’t go away overnight just because of some cute boy, even if it is Adrian Ivashkov. Another new favorite character is Sarah-Jane Friedman in Dear Martin by Nic Stone, and she was a boss.
A book that made you cry
To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness both left me crying my eyes out at one in the morning. These books hit a nerve. Hard.
A book that made you happy
I don’t want to repeat answers, but Aurora Burning made me laugh out loud as much as it pulled my heartstrings. I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks by Gina Sheridan also caused me to laugh out loud while reading. The stories in this collection were so funny because they were true.
The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received this year
I have bought so many beautiful books this year:
Catherine House by Elisabeth House—probably my favorite book cover ever.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner—this cover gives me a ridiculous amount of life.
Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel—is my favorite shade of pink and has a butterfly on it. Cutesy with an ominous feel.
Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare—I have this facing front on my bookshelves just so I can stare at it whenever I want.
What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
All the books…but I narrowed it down to fifteen. Others I want to read in the next six months are The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows; Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi; Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan; and Lethal White by Robert Galbraith.