Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag (2020)

by - July 18, 2020

This tag has been going around Booktubers recently but I wanted to give it a shot too!

1. What is the best book you've read so far this year?

My serious answer is The Poppy War, but I don't think it's fair to use that because I'll be answering it for another question. Honestly, the 2020 releases for the first half of this year have been disappointing. But one of the best has been Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Remind me why Gothic novels fell out of fashion again?

2. Best sequel?

The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang. The Poppy War series is the best adult fantasy novel series I have ever read, but somehow, the second book is even better than the first. I legitimately didn't know that was possible. This sequel gave me everything I (didn't know) I wanted and then stabbed me at the last minute, proving that it could not be trusted. I am frightened of The Burning God. But I need it.

3. New release you haven't read yet?

Okay, maybe I'm cheating because it just came out but I really want to read Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power. Her debut Wilder Girls is one of my favorite novels of all time, and I'm sure she won't disappoint. She's an author who does brilliant YA thrillers and feminist horror. 

4. Anticipated releases for the second half of the year?

*rubs hands* First, I'm going with These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, which is a YA fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai! Our two protagonists are heirs to rival gangs, but they have to work together to stop a magical monster that's destroying their city. I have very high hopes for this one.

Second, also titled These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever. This is an adult LGBT dark academia novel that gives me Vicious vibes. I am. So. Hyped.

Third, When Villains Rise, the third and final book of the Market of Monsters series by Rebecca Schaeffer. (Not Even Bones is Book 1). I honestly have no idea what is going to happen in this book, but I have faith that Schaeffer will deliver in all her violent, screwed up, delicious darkness.

Of course I have many other anticipated releases, but if I list them all we'll run out of space ;)

5. Biggest disappointment so far?

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller. It's a YA fantasy with an enemies to lovers Slytherin romance. Listen, I was soooo excited for this book. I hyped it up to all my friends. I bought it as soon as it was released. But it was so, so bad. It felt like reading the first draft of a novel. There was barely any worldbuilding, no character development, and very little romantic chemistry. Plus, the protagonist was meant to be devious and clever and even though I liked her, she just didn't come across as the kind of witty the author wanted her to be. The only reason I rated it 3 stars is because it was compulsively readable and I finished it in one day.

On Goodreads I said this was as bland as boiled chicken. And I stand by that.

6. Biggest surprise this year?

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Yeah, I know this book is old, but I didn't expect it to be this good. It's legitimately one of the best and most unique YA fantasy/alternate history novels that I've ever read. This is what Shadows Between Us was supposed to be. It's slow-paced, subtle, and intelligent. An absolute classic. 

7. Newest book crush?

I don't really have any new book crushes this year... But I really adore Cassel from White Cat by Holly Black. He's a morally gray, charming con man. How can I not love him?

8. Favorite new character?

Neil Josten from Nora Sakavic's All for the Game series! Omg I love him. I can't believe it took me ages to read this series. Neil is unique, imperfect, but amazing and lovable. I was rooting for him ever since the first chapter. I understand why this series is so popular; it legitimately deserves all the hype.

9. A book that made you cry?

Ooh, maybe unexpected but I cried while reading Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen. This is a YA contemporary full of Gossip Girl-esque drama. I could relate to the family conflicts that the protagonist had. Basically, this book was full of the highest highs and the lowest lows and... I got sucked in so completely.

10. A book that made you happy?

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall! I sense this is going to be the best romance novel of 2020. It was absolute joy from start to finish, full of laughter, sweetness, and kilig. Fake dating is one of my favorite tropes and this book did not disappoint. If you liked Red, White & Royal Blue then I suggest reading this! It's even better! Reading it really brightened my mood.

11. The favorite review you've written this year?

Ha! So this year I reread my favorite novella, The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht and tweeted: 
In times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, "Reread the Monster of Elendhaven."
And then TOR books, Jennifer Giesbrecht, and her agent Kurestin Armada retweeted it. Hihi. Didn't expect my shitposts to get attention.

12. The most beautiful book you bought this year?

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas. Look at that. WOW. I don't have my copy right now so I can't take a pretty photo... but it is jaw-dropping.

13. What do you need to read before the year ends?

I am a bit behind with 2020 releases, but I want to prioritize the following

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin [YA fantasy, West African universe, enemies to lovers]

Forest of Souls [YA fantasy]

I Killed Zoe Spanos [YA thriller]

Beach Read [Adult romance]


What about you? What are your answers for this tag?

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