I feel like I say “How is it the end of June already?” every time I’ve made this Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag post. But this year, I really do wonder how it’s the end of June already! With all the staying at home, I’ve really lost track of time and I have absolutely no idea where the first half of this year has gone. And despite staying at home every day, I’ve done less reading than I did earlier in the year when I had much less time on my hands. So, once again, my responses for this year’s Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag are going to be boring AF. Luckily I have Jeann and our new co-blogger, Bec, to help me out!
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?
Jenna: I’m extremely predictable but Chain of Gold has been my absolute favourite of the year so far. I wish I didn’t have to wait another 9 months for Chain of Iron. I need to know what happens to my babies now!
Jeann: Noooo don’t make me choose! Probably The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco, tied with Jade War by Fonda Lee. Both absolutely brilliant books, that I will promise to write reviews on so I can rave about them some more!
Bec: I have (somehow) read 174 books so far this year (as of the day I’m adding to this post) but only 20 of those were 5 star reads (and some of those are rereads). It’s hard to pick just one, but I’m going to be predictable like Jenna and say House of Blood and Earth (I’m proud SJM trash. I have so much fun reading her books).
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?
Jenna: I don’t know if I’ve actually read any sequels yet this year. The only one I think I’ve read is Heartstopper Volume 3, which was great but I’m not sure if it counts as the “best” considering it’s the only I’ve read.
Jeann: As I mentioned before, I absolutely LOVED Jade War by Fonda Lee, which isn’t a surprise given how much I loved Jade City. I still haven’t recovered from the ending!!
Bec: This was actually harder than the first question! I haven’t read many direct sequels so far this year. I’m binging a lot of romance, and they usually have companion novels more so than direct sequels. I guess I’ll go with Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean (book #2 in the Bareknuckle Bastards trilogy).
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
Jenna: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez is one that came out really early in the year and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since the cover caught my eye. Not only does it have a beautiful cover, but the synopsis sounds incredibly intriguing. There’s romance, fake royals, vigilantes and Bolivian politics and history. I’m so, so, so keen and brb while I go and order a copy.
Bec: There’s a lot, but most recently is A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown. To be fair, this only just came out so it’s not too surprising I haven’t read it. I love fantasy, especially fantasy set in worlds inspired by cultures I’m not as familiar with. Plus, it sounds like it takes the whole enemies to lovers trope to a whole new level!
Jeann: I definitely agree with Bec with A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, because it sounds absolutely stunning! I’ve got it on my immediate TBR though and I’m excited to pick it up.
4. Most anticipated release for second half of 2020?
Jenna: I haven’t really been keeping up with what’s coming out later this year (because I’m a terrible book blogger and I need to go back to my old ways!) but the one that I’m probably most excited for right now is Majesty by Katharine McGee, the sequel to American Royals. I feel really deeply in love with American Royals last year (I actually picked it up at the airport on my way to visiting Jeann) and I’m so excited to see what happens next to all of the characters. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.
Jeann: Definitely The Burning God by R.F. Kuang, given how I absolutely loved The Poppy War and Dragon Republic! This is pretty much one of the best fantasy series that I’ve ever read and I can’t WAIT.
Bec: I haven’t been looking at too many upcoming releases (I’m trying really hard to stick to my buying ban and resist temptation) but I’m keen for A Dance with Fate, the second Warrior Bards book by Julier Marillier. She write wonderful historical fantasy.
5. Biggest disappointment?
Jenna: I really loved Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner Trilogy so I was extremely excited for her new series and preordered The Midnight Lie as soon as I found out about it. Unfortunately, it didn’t really live up to my expectations and I was a bit disappointed with the plot and the pacing of the book.
Jeann: Probably Infinity Son by Adam Silvera. I have loved all of Adam Silvera’s books and given this was his first foray into fantasy, I was excited! But yeah, it just wasn’t my thing but I definitely think younger readers will enjoy it.
Bec: The Upside of Falling by Alex Light. I went into this expecting a fun, light hearted fake dating trope YA. Which it was but… well it didn’t quite live up to my full expectations. I was expecting more depth and development to the characters.
6. Biggest surprise?
Jenna: I wouldn’t say that this was a surprise per se, but I absolutely loved The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. It’s a graphic novel that I picked up while I was browsing at the bookstore and I’m so glad that it came home with me. I thought that I would probably enjoy it but I just ended up loving it way more than I expected to. It’s a beautiful story with equally beautiful illustrations and is perfect for a quick and light read. If I could pick a second book for this prompt, it would be Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales.
Jeann: The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco. I finally picked this up after a few friends urged me to continue on with the series, despite my struggling with the Bone Witch the two times I had read it, and now I finally understand! This series is totally underhyped and I just ADORE this fantasy so much. Necromancers, geisha-like ceremonies, political intrigue, wartime, fantastic side characters… I just can’t stop raving about it.
Bec: The Deal by Elle Kennedy. This is the first book in a New Adult college hockey series. I downloaded it for free from the Kobo store expecting a mediocre/ light hearted romance but it was so much more! Not only was it a good romance, but incredibly well written with fantastic depth and growth to the characters. It kicked off a sports romance/ romance in general binge that hasn’t stopped.
7. Favourite new author?
Jenna: I just finished You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson recently and it absolutely blew me away. I highly enjoyed her writing and her characters and plot were A++++. I’ll definitely be picking up everything she writes in the future.
Jeann: She’s not exactly new, but N.K. Jemisin has got my attention after reading The City We Became this year! Her writing is incredibly beautiful and succinct and imaginative and it’s clear she has talent. I’ve already ordered The Fifth Season and I can’t wait to read it!
Bec: Following on from the last question, I’ve been on an Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen binge. They’ve been filling my romance mood reading binge with some really fun books.
8. Newest fictional crush?
Jenna: I don’t know if this is new but James Herondale of course! I feel like I’ve had a fictional crush on him since the very first Shadowhunters short story I saw him in but now that I’ve read Chain of Gold, I’m obsessed! (Is it weird that both father and son are my book boyfriends?)
Jeann: Uhh, I don’t really have fictional crushes unless their first name starts with Nikolai and their last name ends with Lantsov.
Bec: Ummmm how about the main love interest in almost all the romance books I’ve been reading lately? They’re written to be attractive and most of them have decent personalities.
9. Newest favourite character?
Jenna: I’ve honestly read so few books this year that it’s hard to choose. Probably Anna Lightwood from Chain of Gold? I’d like her confidence, her fashion sense and honestly pretty much everything else about her.
Bec: Bryce Quinlan from House of Blood and Earth! She’s fun and smart and I liked her a lot more than I expected too.
Jeann: Yessss I adore Bryce as well! It took a while getting to know her but she’s totally sassy and sarcastic and kick ass and I love everything about her.
10. Book that made you cry?
Jenna: I said I was heartless last year and I guess I still am.
Jeann: Jade War because Fonda Lee is a meanie.
Bec: I’m the opposite of Jenna. I get really emotionally attached to some books and sometimes start weeping really easily. I cried in House of Blood and Earth (you know what scenes) and also Catwoman: Soulstealer
11. Book that made you happy?
Jenna: I read Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell this year and this graphic novel had a smile on my face the entire time.
Jeann: Definitely Heartstopper v2 and v3 by Alice Oseman! It’s just so adorable and wholesome and I love Nic and Charlie.
Bec: Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier. A reread that I jump into almost once a year. It’s an all time favourite and one I often turn to if I’m stuck or need a pick me up.
12. Favourite book to movie adaptation you saw this year?
Jenna: I can’t really think of any book to movie adaptations I’ve seen this year besides Always and Forever, Lara Jean so that will have to be my pick. It was good but I’m not sure I’d watch it again any time soon.
Jeann: To be honest, I haven’t really seen any book to movie adaptations this year, let alone any shows or movies…
Bec: I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched any movie, let alone an adaption…
13. Favourite review you’ve written this year?
Jenna: My favourite review so far has to be my most recent one for You Should See Me in a Crown. Books that I absolutely love are just a joy to review.
Jeann: Look it’s probably my What I Loved about The City We Became review, because this book really made me feel things.
Bec: I’ve really enjoyed writing almost all my reviews this year, though you guys haven’t seen most of them (I post a lot on Instagram, because usually Aila had read and reviewed them for Happy Indulgence before I got to them and we have very similar taste haha). The pros/cons format is fun and easy. There’s not really one that stands out over any of the others.
14. Most beautiful book you bought so far this year?
Jenna: I haven’t purchased that many books this year so my favourites this year would have to be Chain of Gold, because all of the US hardcover versions of Cassie Clare’s books are beautiful. And (even though I’m still on the fence about it) The Midnight Lie also has a really beautiful cover. EDIT: okay I bought and received Woven in Moonlight, which I mentioned in one of the prompts above and it’s BEAUTIFUL. The illustrations are super cute and the silver title, stars and accents just make it even more stunning.
Jeann: I have just preordered the new Lunar Chronicles covers in a box set since new artwork on the covers have been released (and my covers are a bit battered) and I can’t wait to receive them!
Bec: I’ve barely bought any physical books this year (don’t ask me about how many ebooks I’ve bought). Probably House of Earth and Blood (I’m starting to sound like a broken record with that book ha) or Chain of Gold are the prettiest new additions.
15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Jenna: I’m trying not to make promises that I can’t keep…
Jeann: Ugh, I have so manyyy! I’m looking forward to reading Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal by Anna Whateley, an own voices read about an autistic girl because the author is also from Brisbane.
Bec: I have 203 books on my TBR at the moment (that is a fairly accurate count. I keep track on Goodreads). So probably some of those… I won’t list specific books though, because I’m a fickle mood reader and would never stick to such a list.
I hope 2020 has been a great reading year for you so far. Let us know some of your favourites and biggest disappointments in the comments!
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