Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

Happy Friday, everyone!

Somehow, it’s already summer solstice week and we’ve made it halfway through 2021. Where did all that time go? However, tradition is tradition, so of course, we’re doing the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! This tag was originally created back in 2016 by Ely and Chami over on BookTube, and it is the perfect way for lazy people like me to wrap-up the first half of their reading year 😁 So obviously, we’re doing a 2021 edition!

As of now, I’ve read 42 new-to-me books this year, and although goodreads keeps informing me that I’m six books behind if I want to stay on track for this year’s reading challenge, I’m very happy with that. Because quality-wise, 2021 has been one of the best reading years of my life! I don’t think I’ve ever had this many four- and five-star reads within the first few months of a year πŸ₯° Plus, I’ve read quite a few long books, and also reread a ton, so shame on you for making me feel bad, goodreads!

But anyway, seeing as I’ve read so many great books and have a lot to talk about, let’s get into the questions!

(As always, I’ve linked my reviews in case you’d like to know more of my thoughts on a particular book.)

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?

The Betrayals, obviously! 😍😍😍 If you don’t know this by now, where have you been? This alternate history/dark academia novel about ambition, friendship, and deception is not just one of the best things I’ve read this year but has easily become one of my favorite books ever!!!

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore. This is the sequel to Bitterblue, which happens to be one of my favorite books of all time πŸ€— I waited for almost nine years for this one, so it’s only fair that it met my insanely high expectations! Although I do like Bitterblue more, the fact that I’ve already read Winterkeep three times this year should tell you a bit about how good it was… 🀩

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I love science fiction, I adore the Martian, and even though I thought the main character in Artemis acted a bit too much like Mark Watney in a female body, I really enjoyed that book, too. So obviously, I am very excited to find out what Andy Weir has in store for us this time!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2021?

The Exile’s Gift by Tamora Pierce! This is the second book in her Numair Chronicles, a fantasy series that takes place in the fictional realm of Tortall – which I have been utterly obsessed with since I first read Alanna: The First Adventure when I was twelve. The Exile’s Gift is supposed to be released on August 19th, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

(I’m a bit nervous though because we still don’t have a cover… Please don’t push this one back even further, I want to read it so badly! πŸ₯Ί)

5. Biggest disappointment?

This is a tie between The Steerswoman and A Heart So Fierce and Broken, both of which I hated. And I had such high expectations, too!

One of my really close friends and her boyfriend specifically recommended The Steerswoman to me, saying that it reminded them of The Name of the Wind and that the world building was really unique. Well, the world building was unique. But that’s just about the only positive thing I have to say about this book. It was so boring, and the characters were the flattest cardboard cut-outs I’ve ever come across!

Hating A Heart So Fierce and Broken may have hit me even harder, though. I had loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely, which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with some very unique twists, so I was fully expecting to love the sequel, too. Only I didn’t. Everyone was acting completely out of character and there were more plot holes than male smiles in a Sarah J. Maas novel. πŸ™„

6. Biggest surprise?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I mean, I knew it was one of the most famous American novels out there, but after my traumatizing experiences reading Faulkner and The Catcher in the Rye, I wasn’t so sure if great American novels were really my thing…

To Kill a Mockingbird, though, was exactly my thing! I loved it with all my heart, and if I hadn’t read The Betrayals this year, it would have easily secured my number one spot, even above Winterkeep. This book is, for lack of a better description, profoundly human. It’s incredibly atmospheric and explores heavy topics in a way that still makes you hopeful. And if you’ve read this and didn’t end up loving Scout and Atticus Finch, what sort of monster are you?

7. New favorite author?

Bridget Collins (picture from goodreads)

Since two of Bridget Collins’ books, The Betrayals and The Binding, are currently in my top five reads of the year and I highly doubt any novel is going to be able to topple The Betrayals out of its number one spot, I can hardly give this to anyone else, can I?

8. Newest fictional crush?

I haven’t really come across anyone particularly swoon-worthy yet this year, so I guess I’m leaving this one blank for now?

(Although I must confess that Winterkeep has made me love Giddon even more than I already did before 😊)

9. Newest favorite character?

Carfax (The Betrayals), Adventure Fox (Winterkeep), Scout and Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird), Lucian Darnay (The Binding), Nighteyes (Royal Assassin and Assassin’s Quest), Rooney (Loveless) and pretty much everyone from The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (stay tuned for my June wrap-up for this one), especially Grace, Matsumoto, Thaniel and Katsu. I can’t just pick one, you guys 😭 It’s way too hard! A big reason I loved all of these books so much is because they had such awesome characters!

10. Book that made you cry?

I basically never full-on cry when I read books, but Winterkeep definitely had me sniffling during a certain fox-related scene 😭 But, for the sake of variety, Concrete Rose had me pretty close to tears at one point, too.

11. Book that made you happy?

All of them! Okay, maybe not so much the ones I mentioned in the fifth question… But almost all of them!

However, I’m just gonna go with Drowned Country, Royal Assassin and Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! because they made me extremely happy and I feel like I haven’t talked about them enough yet!

Drowned Country, the sequel to Emily Tesh’s Silver in the Wood, was just amazing and absolutely adorable, and I had the best time walking through the wintery woods with my newly functional foot (If you missed that drama, trust me, you don’t want to know πŸ˜…) and listening to it on audiobook.

Also, even though Fitz’s life choices in Royal Assassin absolutely infuriated me, I can’t not use this post to mention much I love the Farseer Trilogy πŸ₯° It’s awesome, and I’m so glad I finally finished it this year!

And finally, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! was just too funny, relatable and emotional to not deserve a mention here. It’s one of my favorite autobiographies out there, and I would highly recommend it! Especially to all my fellow STEM-fields people πŸ˜‰

12. Favorite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen so far this year?

I mean, I wrote an entire post gushing about Shadow and Bone… Did you really think I was going to choose anything else?

13. Favorite review you’ve written this year?

If I’m being honest … probably the one for A Court of Silver Flames. Even though I’m the one who wrote it, I’m not ashamed to admit that I think it’s kind of hilarious. That book gave me a plethora of scandalous things to rant about, and who doesn’t love rant reviews? 😁

14. Most beautiful book you bought this year?

You’re just going to have to take my word that I own these because half of them are currently at my apartment and the other half at my parents’ house… So I couldn’t take a picture of the real thing! [I mean, technically, if I wrote my posts more than a few days in advance and had realized sooner that I needed a picture, I guess I could have πŸ˜… But this is me we’re talking about here 😁]

15. What books do you really need to read by the end of this year?

None, really. Now that I’ve passed my exams, I’m just gonna read whatever I feel like reading whenever I feel like it! But here are a couple that I’ve been eyeing recently and might pick up relatively soon:

Don’t hold me to any of these, though! I’m way too much of a mood reader to actually stick to concrete reading plans.

(Also, dear sister, would you please remember to bring back The Way of Kings and Legendborn next time you come home? I’m still waiting!)

16. Favorite Community Member?

I can’t pick one over the others! I’m grateful for each and every one of you, and always love exchanging thoughts and ideas with so many incredibly talented people ❀️

But if I comment on your blog a lot, suffice it to say that it’s probably one of my favorites.

And that’s already it for today! I won’t be tagging anyone in particular, since basically everyone does this tag without being tagged anyway, but if you would like to do it and haven’t yet, go ahead and consider yourself tagged!

Also, let me know down below if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them! And which book that you’ve read in 2021 is currently your favorite? I’m always on the lookout for new recommendations 😊

27 thoughts on “Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

  1. jan @ thedoodlecrafter says:

    Ahh I’m reading the hate u give and Angie Thomas’s writing is superb, I’m glad you enjoyed concrete rose! I think I have read Graceling – the novel before bitterblue – and I didn’t like it much, but I guess I’ll try the rest of the series to see if they’re betterπŸ˜ƒ and I really want to read legendborn (king author retelling 😍😍 I am such a nerd) and the jasmine throne by tasha Suri!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying The Hate U Give, Jan! And I would highly recommend reading Concrete Rose afterwards 😁πŸ₯°
      As for Graceling, I do like it, but think Fire (the book “between” Graceling and Bitterblue) and Bitterblue are a lot better. Especially Bitterblue 🀩🀩🀩 But apparently, tastes differ a lot when it comes to this series πŸ˜…
      And aahhhh, my hopes for Legendborn and The Jasmine Throne are astronomical as well! Fingers crossed they’ll be everything I hope they will be! πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nehal Jain says:

    Just realized my blog is one of your favourites then πŸ˜ƒ.
    I loved this post. I so need to read the royal assassin, and I still haven’t read the binding πŸ˜“. Glad to know somebody else’s tbr is just as big πŸ˜‚.
    And I just realized I accidentally skipped quite a fee of these questions while doing my own freakout tag 🀣.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave Williams says:

    Neat to read about the books you’ve enjoyed this year. Probably my favorite that I’ve read this year is “Dune,” with such impressive world-building. I also really enjoyed “Blood Child and Other Stories,” by Octavia Butler, who was also impressive with building futuristic scenarios — and giving you just a glimpse of them in her short stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      That’s great to hear because I just gave my brother a copy of “Dune” for his birthday last week, with the full intention of borrowing it back once he’s read it 😁 And Blood Child is also on my radar! I absolutely loved Butler’s Kindred and Fledgling, and although I didn’t think Parable of the Sower was all that great, the world-building was also top-notch. So it’s nice to hear you enjoyed her short stories because I have yet to try them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ahaana @ Windows to Worlds says:

    i’m so glad you’ve had a great reading year so far! i’ve also been reading so much more diversely, and have had so many 4.5-5 star reads already haha! the betrayals sounds like such a captivating novel – especially since i love dark academia, so i can’t wait to hopefully read it soon. also that cover is so gorgeous πŸ‘€ concrete rose, and well ALL of angie thomas’s books have made me uncontrollably SOB, and i’m so glad you loved reading mav’s sfory as much as i did πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜­ also omg YESSS shadow & bone was so wonderful, and i can’t wait to see wylan and his dynamic with the crows soon (hopefully he’s there in s2!) there are so many amazing books on your tbr, but as a fellow mood reader i completely agree about not being able to stick to any tbr i set for myself πŸ₯² loved this post! ❀️❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Ahaana! And lol, I saw – after all, your wrap-ups have significantly added on to the already endless list of books I’m interested in! πŸ˜‚ I mean, These Violent Delights is a Romeo and Juliet retelling, and since you said it was good it should probably be added to my answer to that penultimate question 😁
      And aahhh, yes, Angie Thomas’s books and Shadow and Bone are amazing! 😍 I’m super pumped to see Wylan as well, but also to just be back with the other characters! My heart honestly can’t take where Matthias and Nina left off, so I don’t even know what I’m gonna do once that Crooked Kingdom ending comes along if it’s already this bad now… 😭
      Anyway, thanks for stopping by! ❀ (And yes, read The Betrayals!! 😁)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Line says:

    I already knew what your favorite book was going to be but it’s still nice to see πŸ˜„ I’m thrilled to have someone I can be excited about Bridget Collins with!

    And the characters from Watchmaker under ‘favorite characters’ πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° I’m especially excited that Katsu made the cut. And you know I’m dying to hear your thoughts so next Friday is so far away!

    I also see so many exciting books coming up for you that I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts on! Not just A Little Life but also very much A Little Life πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      You definitely have a good track record picking out my yearly favorites, so feel free to recommend any other authors you still need someone to get excited about with πŸ˜‚ I’m already looking forward to having A Little Life destroy me, too – I just got a physical copy from our newly reopened library and am so excited! πŸ€—

      Also, I’m glad you agree about Katsu πŸ₯° I wasn’t sure if a mechanical octopus really classified as a character, but then I decided it most definitely did. I don’t understand why nobody wanted that room before Thaniel – if I had found Katsu in my drawers, you would have had to drag me out of there to get me to leave!

      And let’s hope I actually get to all those wonderful books πŸ˜… Right now, I desperately want to read all of them, but I have a very bad track record of getting distracted by whatever else comes my way… πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line says:

        You’re going through my favorite books in record time, so I think I’m running out of books to recommend πŸ˜…

        I don’t tend to love inanimate objects as much as I love Katsu so he’s definitely a character! πŸ˜„ I also wouldn’t mind sharing a room with him.

        Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you! If do you pick up Bridget Collins’ works, I really hope you’ll end up loving them just as much as I did! 😊 And I’m glad we seem to agree on To Kill a Mockingbird!


  6. Lesserleaf says:

    To Kill a Mockingbird is great — there’s also a very good black-and-white movie of it with Gregory Peck as Atticus that I remember being really good.
    I also like Tamora Pierce. I haven’t read her Numair Chronicles, but I’ll look them up. I used to borrow her books in German from the public library πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Oooh, I’ll have to see whether I can find that anywhere! And maybe force my family to watch it with me 😊
      I’ll also keep my fingers crossed that your library might also have copies of the Numair Chronicles! They definitely provide a lot of wonderful background if you’ve read her other books, but they can function as a standalone series as well.


  7. Amy @A Fangirls Opinion says:

    I loved reading your answers!! I must be living under a rock because I hadn’t heard anything about The Betrayals, but it sounds like something I’d definitely enjoy! I also need to re-read The Graceling series ASAP!! πŸ₯°βœ¨

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Amy! Gosh, yes, The Betrayals!! πŸ₯° I’d love for you to give it a try! Even though I do think it can be a bit polarizing… I’ve heard some people say they thought it was very confusing, but I adored absolutely everything about it πŸ˜‚
      And I totally agree that re-reading the Graceling series is never a bad idea πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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