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 🥰 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 🤗 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! 🥺)
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. 🙄
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?
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 😅) 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 🥰 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 😉
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 😅 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 😊