Happy Friday, everyone!
It’s summer solstice week, so obviously, I’m doing the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! Tradition is tradition, after all.
And speaking of tradition – after two years of not being allowed to have them because of COVID, I was so excited because we were supposed to get summer solstice bonfires back! One of my favorite things about June in Germany, they involve getting together with your village, torching a huge pile of wood, recklessly endangering your life by jumping over the flames, and eating a whole bunch of food. And we all know I can’t resist anything that involves food, even if I have to socialize with my neighbors and risk burning to death in order to get it… But then our fire got cancelled!! 😭 The weather has been so hot and dry lately that they’ve even forbidden barbecues in some areas, so now I have to stick with being roasted to death in my apartment instead. HOW IS THIS FAIR, HUH?!?
Source of picture: https://www.igel-in-bayern.de/sonnwendfeuer/
But fine, back to the tag… Created in 2016 by Ely and Chami over on BookTube, it has become a staple way for the bookish community to wrap-up the first half of its reading year. So of course, I’m doing it, too!
As of now, I’ve read 41 new-to-me books this year, which means I am, as is apparently also traditional, totally behind on my Goodreads reading challenge. Unfortunately, though, I don’t even have the excuse of having had a particularly great reading year to make up for it this time. All things considered, 2022 has been pretty average so far – I’ve had a couple of really great books, but also a couple of truly awful ones…
Still, I have plenty of books to talk about, so let’s get straight into the questions!
(As always, I’ve also linked the posts were you can find reviews of the books for you, should you want some of my more in-depth thoughts.)
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2022?
When I started the year with three five-star reads in a row, I probably should have known it was too good to last… So far, nothing has managed to top Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders trilogy! From complex characters and magic to lots of intrigue and politics, it has absolutely everything I love in a story, and besides, there are pirates!! And dragons!!
Between the greatness that all three books contain, I find it hard to choose a favorite, but if I absolutely had to, that distinction would probably go to The Mad Ship. Simply because it has the most phenomenal character development of the bunch and heavily features Paragon! I mean, is it really surprising that a crazy and depressed talking ship would become one of my favorite Robin Hobb characters ever? 🥰
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2022?
Apart from The Mad Ship, you mean? Then let’s go with another Robin Hobb book: The Golden Fool, which is the second installment in her Tawny Man Trilogy! Both of these absolutely destroyed me in the very best way possible!! I have a hard time deciding which one I love more, so all I can say is that I’m extremely apprehensive about eventually finishing Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderings, the overarching series that The Liveship Traders and The Tawny Man Trilogy are the second and third installments of. Because how is any fantasy I read after this possibly going to compete???
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
What do you expect? Chelsea Abdullah’s The Stardust Thief was inspired by One Thousand and One Nights – which is quite possibly my favorite story collection of all time – and it has S.A. Chakraborty’s stamp of approval! If this is anywhere near as good as The Daevabad Trilogy, of course I want to read this!!
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2022?
Honestly? I have almost nothing on my radar 🙈 Most of the big releases I’m anticipating – Hello, Chain of Thorns and Stormlight Five! – come out in 2023, so 2022 is probably gonna be more of a backlog reading year.
However, I am looking forward to Bloodless Ties, the third book in Katie Wismer’s Marionettes series, being released on November 15th! 🤗 I’m currently in the middle of beta reading this, and there have already been so many insane new developments that I’m dying to hear other people’s opinions on them! Plus, the draft I have at the moment is still pretty messy, so I’m very curious to see the final version.
5. Biggest disappointment?
6. Biggest surprise?
Both Eliot Schrefer’s YA sci-fi novel The Darkness Outside Us and Loung Ung’s memoir First They Killed My Father ended up taking me completely by surprise with how much I ended up loving them! Apart from Hanya Yanagihara’s To Paradise, they are my only non-Robin-Hobb five-star reads of the year, and, considering that I stumbled across both of them pretty randomly and have barely heard anyone else mention them, I really think they deserve more attention!
7. New favorite author?
I haven’t really read enough by any new to-me-authors to judge yet. But Adiba Jaigirdar (The Henna Wars), Tarjei Vesaas (The Ice Palace), Eliot Schrefer (The Darkness Outside Us), and Emily Austin (Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead) definitely have me intrigued now.
(Also, can we talk about the fact that Eliot Schrefer is just casually holding a baby bonobo in his author picture? 😍 I think that alone is enough to make me want to read everything he ever pens!!)
8. Newest fictional crush?
Let’s just accept the fact that I’m a horrible person to ask this question 😅 Can’t I just happily stay on the sidelines and ship these characters with each other? Though I guess if I have to pick, Brashen from The Liveship Traders comes closest.
9. Newest favorite character?
Paragon, Althea, and Brashen from The Liveship Traders, Dutiful and Thick from The Tawny Man Trilogy, Book-1-David and Book-3-Charlie from To Paradise, the Revenant from Vespertine, Kodiak from The Darkness Outside Us, and Gilda from Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead. You didn’t think I’d only choose one, did you? 😁😇
10. Book that made you cry?
Even though The Golden Fool was my favorite Tawny Man Trilogy installment, the ones that had me full-on sobbing were books one and three. They were just so sad, okay!! Why did Robin Hobb have to break my heart like this multiple times?!? 😭😭
Also, an honorable mention goes to Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead. While it didn’t exactly make me cry, it did have me sniffling, and since I am a fairly emotionless robot when it comes to books illiciting any kind of reaction from me, that is definitely noteworthy! Also, it should be mentioned that the book, which follows a socially anxious and depressed young woman who accidentally ends up working at a Catholic church despite secretly being a lesbian atheist, has some of the best macabre humor I have ever encountered!! So in between all of that sniffling, I was snorting with laughter, which is definitely a good combo, I think.
11. Book that made you happy?
Do I keep mentioning the same books over and over again? Yes. So what? 😁 I still think Fool’s Errand qualifies the book that made me happiest this year because a) I was finally reunited with the characters from The Farseer Trilogy and b) there is this reunion between two characters at the beginning of this book that was so wholesome that it absolutely melted my heart and just made me want to read it over and over and over again!! And then, when the book made me cry, it sort of made me even happier!
(Just accept the fact that I’m weird, guys. If you want a genuinely happy book recommendation instead, I’d say Emma Lord’s Tweet Cute probably fits that prompt best out of the books I read this year. However, since the ending was so happy that I found it incredibly cheesy, it ultimately ended up making me less happy, which is why I still think Fool’s Errand is the better answer here! 😇)
12. Favorite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen so far this year?
I mean, like, there’s no competition… Heartstopper is generally one of the best book-to-screen adaptations I’ve ever seen! 🤩🥰🤩
13. Favorite post you’ve written this year?
I can’t pick!! 😫 It’s probably a three-way tie between the one where I taught you guys how to design a bestselling book cover, the one where I rewrote synopses of popular books with me as the protagonist, and the one where I recommended books based on weird Duolingo sentences.
14. Most beautiful book you bought this year?
I have been insanely good at sticking to my book-buying ban thus far – the only books I’ve acquired in 2022 are The Liveship Traders trilogy, Elantris, Starsight and Cytonic, and The Atlas Six.
Which means I’ve only broken my rules – the only books I am allowed to buy are continuations of series that I’ve already started and love – twice! (Or once? Technically, Elantris is part of the Cosmere…) Besides, all instances of rule-breaking are entirely Line @ First Line Reader‘s fault! 😜 But since our buddy reads also meant I immediately had someone to rant about Elantris and The Atlas Six with, I guess that’s okay…
Anyway, I actually think all of these books are really pretty! Except possibly The Atlas Six, because my copy has, not one, but two (!!) horrifyingly ugly fake stickers on it that declare the book to be “The must-read TikTok sensation” and “The Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller”. Good thing I plan on unhauling it anyway, I guess! 😁
(Also, yes, I am aware that Starsight and Cytonic are two different sizes. There’s no need to point that out – trust me, it is already driving me nuts enough as it is! 😫 Why is Cytonic suddenly so much bigger, huh?! You can’t just compensate for a tremendous drop in quality by a tremendous jump in size! 😤)
15. What books do you really need to read by the end of this year?
I don’t NEED to get to anything!
Well… unless I want to meet my goals of having read ten German books, three French books, and one Russian book by the end of the year. So far, all I’ve done is read four German books (of which I hated three 🙈), so I think it’s safe to say I have a bit of catching up to do.
Same goes for my goal to read works from at least ten countries outside of the US and UK. I haven’t met that one yet, either, although I have read things from Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Germany (😜), Russia, Cambodia, Poland, Norway, and Canada, so technically, I guess I’m only missing one country? However, since my list of countries is extremely eurocentric at the moment, I should probably expand it a bit regardless… If you have any recommendations for me, please let me know!
Other than that, I fully intend on only reading what I want to! Which can roughly be broken into the categories “Books I’m Dying to Read” (= the rest of Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series 🤩), “Series I Should Probably Finish at Some Point” (it’s truly embarrassing how long I’ve been putting off some of these finales 😅), “Books in Foreign Languages” (I need more recommendations here! 🤗), and “Random Other Stuff That Sounds Interesting”. If you’re curious, here are a couple of candidates I’ve been eyeing:
Which already brings us to the end of this year’s Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! If your chaotic content cravings aren’t yet satisfied, though, you can always check out my previous renditions:
(Nope, I didn’t forget to link the one for 2019 – that year was just so awful I never ended up writing one 🤫)
Anyway, let me know down below if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them! What is your favorite read of 2022 so far? Which book turned out to be your biggest disappointment? I would love to know!