This tag was originally created by Chami at ReadLikeWildfire and is typically seen on YouTube, but I’m a writer dammit, so I’m gonna blog it.
The Mid Year Book Freak Out is essentially a check in for readers to assess what they’ve read so far and what they still need to read. This is a fun tag that has been circulating for a few years and even though I haven’t read as many books as some folks, I definitely have enough to chatter about! So far, I’ve read 20 out of 60 books on my Goodreads Challenge, which is 10 books behind. But just a few weeks ago, I was 16 books behind, so I’ll call this an improvement. Also, if I don’t reach 60 books, I won’t cry about it. The challenge is just for fun. And despite reading 20 books, I only really talk about a select few here. It’s kind of surprising that I’ve gotten such an even balance of good books and not so good books so far this year.
- Best book you’ve read so far: Lisey’s Story by Stephen King
This one was easy. I loved this book so much, and I’ve never quite experienced King this way. I’m no King expert, but I can say it’s definitely something different for him. It was so moving and sinister and Lisey is such an amazing character. After the death of her husband, Scott Landon, Lisey has to face the demons he struggled with for his entire life to finally put her loss behind her. This book will reappear on this list… probably several times. You can read my full gushing review for it here.
- Best sequel you’ve read so far: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
While this wasn’t the best King I have read this year, this was a great sequel to The Shining, complete with making me totally fall in love with the young hero, Abra, as she navigates the shining and the evil folks who want to use her for their own survival.
- New release you haven’t read yet but want to: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman’s newest book is sitting on my bookshelf, staring at me with its beautiful cover, whispering to me its rave reviews, and just generally making me feel bad about not having picked it up yet. I so want to though.
- Most anticipated release for the second half of the year: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King
I mean, how can I resist picking this? In this new King (double King!), women are afflicted with a strange curse. When they fall asleep, their bodies are wrapped in a cocoon. If anyone disturbs their cocoon, they turn violent and feral. No woman is immune except for Evie. What the heck does this all mean?! I can’t wait to find out.
- Biggest disappointment: Starfall by Melissa Landers / Milk&Honey by Rupi Kaur
Starfall book was such a huge disappointment especially because the first one, Starflight, was so good. While the first gave you a ripping space adventure with pirates and bad guys and a crew of mismatched family, the second gave you a watered down story of plot devices thrown in as if mechanically just to churn the damn thing out. My review on both, here.
I read Milk&Honey because I had heard amazing things about it from BookTube and Bookstagram, and I’m upset that I let the hype get the better of me. I wrote more about this in my Wrap-Up review of why Kaur’s poetry is something that is desperately needed right now, but why this collection of poetry is a weak start. I have already seen improvements in her work and only hope for more because her perspective is something terribly lacking in the poetry world.
- Biggest surprise: Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
I kind of picked this book up on a whim when I saw it on sale around Christmas time. I had seen it floating around in the Bookstagram/BookTube world and figured I needed something different in my reading life. Boy am I glad I did! The story follows a young woman, Cora, who escapes from her plantation and dares to head north via the Underground Railroad. But in this twist on history, the Underground Railroad is a real railroad with a real train transporting slaves as far north as it can. It wasn’t an amazing read, but it was fascinating and kept me invested the entire time.
- Favorite new (to me) author: M. T. Anderson
Thank you, Moon, for totally investing me in more of this guy’s work. So far, that’s the only book of his I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be the last. Moon follows a teenage boy as his trip to the Moon is interrupted by a terrorist of the Feed, the network that almost everyone is constantly plugged into. The boy, Titus, meets a girl while on this trip, and her Feed doesn’t quite get fully repaired after the attack, leading the two down a strange path together.
- Newest fictional crush: Marko
I don’t really do fictional crushes anymore (not since I turned like 16). But if I had to choose, I’d pick Marko from Saga. He’s animated, but I suppose you could say he’s cute. The thing that is most attractive about him, though, is his personality. A little sarcastic, a lot loyal to his family, and just all around entertaining to read.
- Newest favorite character: Lisey Landon
The thing that sold me on Lisey wasn’t how she handled her family situation or how she handled the bool (although both of those things contribute to her amazing character), rather it is “Lisey’s Tornado Look” that really solidified my love for her. She has to face monsters and demons in the form of other people and real actual monsters, and she doesn’t take any shit. She is small, but she will mess you up if given the chance.
- Book that made you cry: Lisey’s Story by Stephen King
Like a little girl lost in a supermarket looking for her mommy. This story is so frightening and lovely, and it really makes you wonder how something can be terrifying and beautiful at the same time. We know Scott is dead from the beginning, that’s no spoiler, but when we finally get to visit the scene in which he passes, it was impossible to hold in the tears. Even on a crowded flight.
- Book that made you happy: Starflight Melissa Landers
This book was just so much fun. The main characters, Solara and Doran, have an excellent chemistry and a slow building affection for one another, even though their circumstances are absolutely dire. They’ve hopped aboard a ship of misfits, Solara a felon, Doran a kidnapped rich boy, and they have to survive the perils of space travel. It was everything I had hoped it would be, if a little trite and predictable at times (what do you expect with YA?). The second one was a huge disappointment in comparison. But the first wasn’t soured for me by the companion.
- Favorite book-to-film adaptation: Wonder Woman
I don’t think I’ve seen many other adaptations this year, which is rare for me. I haven’t even watched the Handmaid’s Tale yet. I’ve watched some of the adaptation of American Gods, and so far, it’s good – but nothing is Wonder Woman good. The power of Wonder Woman for me was in the fighting and the costumes and the direction. Fighting rooted in dance and feminine badass movement, costumes based on armor instead of underwear. An amazing cast, a brilliant story, beautifully directed. I wept. An amazing outstanding phenomenal cinematic experience for little girls (and boys) everywhere.
- Favorite review you’ve written this year: Lisey’s Story
Go see for yourself – I gush a lot. I think the reason I like this review so much is because I liked the book so much. It’s difficult to put into words why you love something, but in this review I try and I think I succeed to some degree.
- Most beautiful book you’ve bought: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
That just seems to easy, I mean just look at it!
- Books to read by the end of the year:
So many. But here’s an abbreviated list. These are the ones I really can’t wait to crack into. They’re all huge, but I can do it!
I’m really looking forward to the books I’ve yet to read, and if you think my arm wasn’t shaking while trying taking that picture, you’d be wrong. I loved doing this tag and reflecting on the books I’ve read so far this year, and I tag Books and Drinks to tackle it next!
What are your favorite reads so far? What are you looking forward to? Let me know!
Be excellent to each other,