The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

Hey! Welcome back to the party everyone. I know normally the mid-year freakout tag comes, well, closer to the actual middle of the year, but I’ve been struggling to post anything at all this year, so halfway through August it is.

Of course, part of the reason why I’ve been struggling to post things is because I’ve been in a pretty major reading slump. That’s kind of a problem when you run a book blog, which is why I think I’m going to change things up a little bit, but more on that in a different post. For now, let’s just get to the questions.

Best book you’ve read so far this year.

Like I said, this year has been a little light in the reading department. I kind of knew it was going to be, which is why I set my reading goal at just 12 books this year. (On The Storygraph, not Goodreads, by the way. I’m not affiliated with them or anything, I just think the platform is way better than Goodreads in every possible way.)

I’ve only read six books so far this year, but of those six, the one I had the most fun with was probably Kith & Kin, which is a Critical Role tie-in book following the twins Vex’ahlia and Vax’ildan before they met and joined Vox Machina. I mostly enjoyed it because the audiobook has excellent narration, and the original actors for Vex and Vax, Laura Bailey and Liam O’Brien, actually voice the twins’ lines in the audiobook, which was super cool.

Best sequel you’ve read so far this year.

Considering I’ve only read one sequel so far this year, this award is going to have to go to The Shadow of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee. I also read the first book, The Rise of Kyoshi, this year. As you can probably tell, a major theme of my reading so far this year has been books that are related to other media I love. Those are the only books I’ve been able to get myself to read, and even then the only reason I’ve managed to get through those is because audiobooks have become my best friends this year.

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

To be honest, I haven’t been doing a great job of keeping up with the new books that are coming out, so I don’t really have an answer for this one. There are a lot of releases from last year and the year before that I haven’t even gotten to yet, much less new releases from this year.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

With that being said, in-keeping with my theme of only being able to get through tie-in books, The Mighty Nein – The Nine Eyes of Lucien, another Critical Role-related book, is supposed to come out this November, and I’m super excited to read it when it does.

I can’t really talk about the plot without spoiling an entire several-hundred-hour-long D&D campaign, so I’m not going to say much other than I really want to read it.

Also rather predictably, my other most-anticipated release for this year is, of course, a Brandon Sanderson novel. As far as I know, the final book in era 2 of Mistborn is still slated to come out this November, and I plan on reading it as soon as I can after that.

Biggest disappointment.

I don’t have one. I’ve only read six books, and all of them were pretty good, considering.

Biggest surprise.

My biggest reading surprise this year isn’t really a book and more of a genre. Of the six books I’ve read so far, three were non-fiction, which is a pretty unusual pick for me. Generally, I’m lucky if I read even one non-fiction book in a year, but this year, since I’ve been having so much trouble reading in general, I’ve just been going with whatever calls to me, and surprisingly, a lot of what has been calling to me is non-fiction.

Favorite new (debut or new-to-you) author.

I mean, every book I’ve read so far this year has been by authors I’ve never read before, and although I don’t really know, I don’t think any of them were debuts. I guess if I had to pick, my favorite was Dr. Kara Cooney, who wrote When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt. Admittedly, I don’t have much to compare it to, but what little historical non-fiction I’ve read tends to be kind of dry and hard to get through. I appreciated the way she made the history feel more like a story.

Newest fictional crush.

Haha, no.

Newest favorite character.

I don’t know that any of the characters in the books I’ve read so far this year were special enough to me for me to count them among my favorite characters. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love Vex and Vax of course, but the version of them that was depicted in the book felt a little off from who they are in the show, which I know is inevitable. Still.

The characters were all great and entertaining, but not all-time favorite material.

Book that made you cry.

None of them. Even if I’d read more than six books, I doubt any of them would have made me cry. I don’t tend to cry during books, even ones that are really sad.

Book that made you happy.

I don’t know if it made me happy, necessarily, but it definitely made me feel seen. Kind of on a whim last month, I decided to download and listen to the audiobook for How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis, and in addition to some legitimately helpful advice, the book also helped remind me that I’m not a failure.

You see, last year I officially moved out of my parents’ house for the first time, and a couple months ago I moved into my first solo apartment. I’ve been struggling a fair amount with keeping up with cleaning around the house for various reasons. This book helped me realize that I’m not alone in these struggles.

Most beautiful book you’ve received or bought so far this year.

You know, I should probably be keeping track of my book buying somewhere so I could answer questions like these more easily. I know I’ve bought books this year, but I can’t really remember which ones I bought this year and which ones were from earlier, so I’m just going to change the question a little bit and say that the most beautiful book I’ve received in recent years is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. The gold text on a black background and the little star accents just speak to me for some reason.

I still haven’t read this book, so I don’t have any idea if the stars are significant to the plot, but regardless of whether they are or not, they’re beautiful and I’m a big fan.                                 

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself to read anything. I’m slowly starting to come out of a reading slump that has lasted for a long time, so like I said earlier, I’m mostly just going with the flow and reading whatever I can successfully get all the way through. However, there are a few books I’d like to get to by the end of the year.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, for one. And the two books I mentioned earlier that haven’t been released yet. Other than that, I’m just following wherever my mood leads me.

I’m starting to think doing this tag wasn’t such a great idea. Six books doesn’t give me much material to work with for a tag like this, and I kind of ended up repeating myself a lot, but I had fun filling out these questions, so hopefully you had fun reading through them! Let me know down in the comments your answers to any of these questions (or all of them, if you really want to be an overachiever).

Thanks for reading, and I’ll hopefully see you soon with another post!

-Ariel

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