I wasn’t planning to do the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag until after the halfway point of the year, but since my inbox is full of other bloggers doing this tag and I don’t want to miss out, I’m jumping on the bandwagon and doing it now, too!
I’ve read so many good books so far this year that I actually think I’m going to put together a full post listing some of them because there are really just too many to name here. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, Wilde in Love by Eloisa James, and A Scandalous Deal by Joanna Shupe really stood out to me in the romance genre, I’m completely obsessed with the Illuminae trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and The Displaced edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, and Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann are some of the best nonfiction I’ve read so far in 2018. Keep an eye out on my blog if you want the full scoop on why I loved these books so much! I’ll probably remember a few more by then that I forgot to include here, too.
Definitely Gemina and Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff! I waited to pick up the Illuminae trilogy until the series was completed so I could binge the whole thing, and that is exactly what happened! I loved seeing how the story grew bigger and bigger with each installment but then how everything ultimately came together at the end. This is such an amazing series and I highly recommend it if you haven’t checked it out yet!
A new release you haven’t read yet but want to
Sooooo many. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai, What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell, Not that Bad edited by Roxane Gay, and the paperback editions of Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner and Surpassing Certainty by Janet Mock are all books that have come out in 2018 that I bought almost immediately but haven’t actually read yet. But I’m still excited about all of them! I also want to pick up Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot, and while I’ve had bad experiences with overhyped books, everyone’s excitement about The Poppy War by RF Kuang is making me really want to pick that up, too.
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
There are several! I’m so excited for A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole — it’s a contemporary with a hero who’s a swordmaker and a secret duke and a Hufflegruff, and that’s all I need to know. Also, Tessa Dare has a new book coming out this fall titled The Governess Game, and considering she’s one of my favorite romance novelists, I can’t wait for that. I’m also beyond excited for Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness, the continuation of the All Soul’s trilogy. And of course, we’re finally getting the conclusion to the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas with Kingdom of Ash!
I actually have two that come to mind for this. One is Iron Gold by Pierce Brown. I was so excited for the Red Rising series to continue and thought that the topics he was dealing with in the sequel trilogy sounded really interesting. But I actually didn’t like Iron Gold that much! I struggled with the different perspectives and thought it was a real slog to get through, and I felt like he really changed Darrow’s personality in a way I didn’t like. I’m still a huge fan of Brown’s and I’m hoping he can redeem this series with the next book, but that was definitely a huge disappointment for me.
I was also pretty let down by Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I try to be aware of when I’m picking up a book solely for the hype and remember that it probably won’t live up to it for me, but I heard so many people raving about this book who generally have similar opinions of fantasy to mine, so I thought it’d be a slam dunk for sure. But I felt like the characters were really underdeveloped and I had some serious issues with the romance. It was a fun read and I’m excited to see more diverse fantasy get published and do well, but I didn’t think this one was nearly as good as everyone made it out to be.
Book that most surprised you
I think maybe The Displaced edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen. I’m not at all surprised that I loved it, I just can’t get over the fact that it had been out for over a month and I hadn’t even heard of it when I attended a panel at Book Con featuring Nguyen and two contributing writers from the collection. I was immediately obsessed as soon as I understood what the concept was, a collection of essay written by refugee writers about refugee lives, and it was the first book I read from my collective Book Expo and Book Con haul. I still can’t believe I’d never heard of it, but I’m so glad I happened to attend that panel and learned about this book, because it’s amazing and I highly encourage everyone to read it and get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a refugee.
New favorite author
Since I’ve binged so many of her Copper Ridge books, I feel like I have to answer with Maisey Yates. I don’t consider myself a big contemporary reader, and I really don’t consider myself a small town or cowboy romance reader, but something about Yates’ stories just really pull me in and I forget all of the reasons that this isn’t a subgenre I usually gravitate towards. The chemistry between her characters is amazing and I love watching them fall in love with each other and let go of their hangups and reservations to get their happily ever afters.
New fictional crush
Maybe Ezra from Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff? No one is immediately coming to mind for this one, but he jumped out when I was perusing my Goodreads shelf. I loved Gemina and Obsidio, but Illuminae was probably my favorite of the trilogy, and a lot of that was because of how much I enjoyed Ezra. He’s definitely the most crush-worthy of the three boys introduced in this trilogy!
New favorite character
Oh man. No one is immediately coming to mind for this one! I’ve read a lot of books with amazing characters, but I think some of my favorites are part of series I’ve previously read. Maybe Diana from Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo? This was a great story that I really enjoyed, and I loved Bardugo’s take on Themyscira and how it’s made up of women who cried out to a female deity in the moment of their death. I love how fierce and loyal and strong she is, and I desperately want Bardugo to return to this world!
Book that made you cry
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is definitely the first one that comes to mind for this prompt. I dare you to read it and not tear up at the end! It’s so good, but so sad!
Book that made you happy
I actually have two for this answer (surprise, surprise). One is The Hating Game by Sally Thorne because it’s just such a delightful hate-to-love romance that I raced through and was seriously tempted to reread immediately. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I wind up reading it again before the end of the year. I just enjoyed everything about it and it filled me with happiness.
The other one is Anna Kendrick’s memoir, Scrappy Little Nobody. I’ve listened to a few comedians’ memoirs while running on the treadmill, but Kendrick’s definitely had me laughing harder during my run than any other one. Seriously, the other people at the gym probably thought I was deranged because I kept laughing for no apparent reason. Definitely a memoir I recommend checking out, especially on audio!
Favorite book to movie adaptation
I was actually going to skip this prompt when I started putting this blog post together because I watch so few movies that I genuinely had nothing to answer with. But then I wound up watching Love, Simon this past weekend and absolutely loved it! Honestly, it might have even been better than the book for me. I enjoyed the book, but generally find it to be overhyped (I’m sorry!!), but the movie really captured the spirit of the book in addition to being incredibly funny and heartwarming and cute. Even my husband, who really wasn’t interested in watching it with me at first, wound up really enjoying it. So definitely the best pick so far for this prompt!
So many! I think two of the most fun to put together were my posts sharing my 2018 bookish notebook (which is almost full—I need to expand into a second one soon) and my travel bookmark collection (which I’ve since added to!). But I also want to give a shoutout to my post announcing my NYC signing calendar — it also detailed what to expect at book signings for those who don’t live in the NYC area — and my post about why I’m working towards a zero tbr.
Most aesthetically pleasing book
I own the Bloomsbury modern classics edition of The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller, and it’s easily the most beautiful physical copy of a book that I’ve read so far this year. I love the cover, I love the spine, I love the use of color, and even though I actually thought this book was just ok, I’m not sure I can bear to part with this physical copy because it’s just so pretty. I really hope they release more books in this collection, because they did a beautiful job!
I also thought the cover to Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker was really well done. I get pulled in every time I see it. I wish I’d loved this book enough that I felt the need to keep a copy, because it’s really a great addition to my shelves (though I think they missed an opportunity by making the spine orange instead of matching it to the red wine color on the cover), but alas, I passed it along to my mother-in-law and told her I didn’t need it back.
Books you need to read by the end of the year
I mean, ideally everything on my shelves since I’m trying to work towards a zero TBR. Realistically, I don’t think that’s going to happen by the end of 2018, but I would really like to focus on wrapping up the books on my 18 to read in 2018 list. The ones I still haven’t read include: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (which I’m thinking I’ll pick up for Tome Topple!), The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, The New Odyssey by Patrick Kingsley, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (which I’m reading now), and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
Alright, there you have my take on the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! Definitely let me know what you think of my picks in the comments, and feel free to share some of you favorite books you’ve read so far this year!