The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2018)

The halfway point of the year really snuck up on me, but I feel like I say that every year! This year was probably my biggest challenge yet, with a total of 182 books across 5 challenges. Ideally, I would love to finish all of my challenges by the end of December this year but to keep it realistic, I’ve set the timeline for a few of the challenges to the end of March 2019. As of right now, I am 8 books behind schedule. I have read a total of 82 books so far (45% of my total) so I’m almost on track to finish within the year. To finish by the end of the year, I would need to read 15 books per month and I am currently averaging 13 or 14 every month.

Just for sake of comparison, last year my goal was to read 158 books and I was at a total of 70 by the end of last June. Last year, I commented that the books I read were a little longer on average than the previous year, and I think the same might be true this year as well. One of my goals was to complete several of the series that I have in progress, and many of those books are 500 – 600 pages! To be fair, I’ve been putting off reading some of those series until I have a few days off the devote to them, but I’m not entirely sure when that will happen. I’ve also been prioritizing reading more recently released books, which has been great! I’m usually really bad at keeping up with new releases, and although I’m still far from up-to-date, I’m at least reading books that have been released in the past year or two.

I decided to do this tag again because it is a great way to reflect back on my reading progress this year, and start to get excited for the second half! This tag was originally co-created by Chami (video here) and Ely, whose video/post I could not find.

1) Best book you’ve read so far this year

32620332This is a tough choice since I’ve already had quite a few 5 star reads this year. Of the 82 books I’ve read, I gave 5 stars to 34 of them (about 40%!) and many others have been 4 stars. I think if I had to pick just one book as the best I’ve read so far, it would have to be The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’m sure this will be many people’s choice for this question, but it is well-deserved. To be honest, I had very little interest in picking up this book at all but as soon as I saw rave reviews for it literally everywhere, I decided to give it a chance. It also helped that I saw comparisons to The Thirteenth Tale, which has become one of my favourites. I was absolutely blown away by this one. By the time I picked it up, I was worried that it couldn’t possibly live up to all the hype and I was surprised to find that it completely exceeded my expectations. I’m so glad I gave this one a chance!

2) Best sequel you’ve read so far this year

2923629924909347Considering I’ve dubbed this my “Year of Series” because of all the series I have in-progress, it’s no surprise that I’ve read quite a few sequels already. As I mentioned above, there are many more sequels I’m planning to read that I haven’t got to yet so the results may be a little skewed. I have to give this one to both Gemina and Obsidio, which I read back-to-back so I sometimes have a hard time separating what happens in each one. These books were just as incredible to me as Illuminae. It’s very rare for me to read sci-fi in general, and even more rare to read anything set in space. This series has completely opened me up to a new kind of book and I’ve since added quite a few space-themed books to my TBR.

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

27188596There are so many new releases I’m looking forward to! If I had to pick one that I knew for sure I was going to read this year, I would have to go with War Storm by Victoria Aveyard. I’m among the minority who actually loved Red Queen, and that is one of the series I’ve committed to finishing this year.

I’ve recently become very interested in reading The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to fit it in this year. This book just came out on June 5, and with my local library closed until September, I’m not sure I’d be able to get a copy even if I did manage to squeeze it in. I’m also interested in reading Final Draft by Riley Redgate and The Perfect Mother by Aimee Malloy. If I don’t manage to get to these ones this year, they will definitely be high priority for next year!

4) Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Again, there are so many! It’s hard for me to keep up with new releases because I tend to plan my challenge lists in advance and although I leave myself some flexibility, I’m usually so invested in the books I already have in mind that I’m hesitant to switch. Here are some of the releases coming out later this year, that I’m most excited for:

5) Biggest Disappointment

23281658Definitely Immaculate by Kathryn Detweiler! I bought this book from Book Outlet  (luckily, only for about $1.50) because the premise sounded so unique. The book is about a teenage girl named Mina who becomes pregnant, despite the fact that she is a virgin. Mina’s friends and family assume that she is lying, and her boyfriend thinks she must have cheated. I’m not usually into books that have very religious themes in general, but this one luckily was not overly religious. Unfortunately, the book in general fell very flat for me, especially because the characters were a bit bland. The book was also overly long at 450 pages, and it became very repetitive. I actually originally rated this book 4 stars, but dropped it to a 3 after a day’s consideration because it was ultimately unmemorable and I thought so much more could have been done with both the premise and the characters.

6) Biggest Surprise

33413128Easy choice for this one. I have to go with Beartown by Fredrik Backman. I’ll admit that I was seriously dreading this book, which I chose for a prompt requiring a book about or involving sports. I have absolutely no interest in sports whatsoever, and I usually don’t enjoy books with a heavy sports focus. This book is about a small hockey town in Sweden, where a traumatic event involving one of the star players shortly before the semi-finals throws the town into chaos. Although I found the story a little slow at the start, I was immediately captivated by Fredrik Backman’s writing style. This was the first book of his I’d ever read, and I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed it. The “traumatic event” was not really a surprise to me. I predicted what it would be when I first added the book to my TBR, let alone when I started reading, but that didn’t really affect my enjoyment. The book had some incredible characters and some excellent insights in general.

7) Favourite New Author (Debut or New To You)

3143488325430566This was a tough one, since many of the books I’d read this year were by authors that I’ve read before. In the end, I had to go with a tie between two books, one for a debut author and one for an author who was new to me — Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant is Not Okay) and Connie Willis (Crosstalk). These were two of the books I was most excited to read this year, and I was very impressed by both of them! Eleanor Oliphant was a surprise because the story did not go in the direction that I expected at all, but it was amazing. I was expecting a Rosie Project-type story, but it was actually a powerful story about loneliness and coping with trauma. Crosstalk was a book that I’d been meaning to read for a couple of years, and finally decided to commit to it. It is set in a world where people can undergo a procedure to connect them with their partner to help become more attuned to each other’s emotions, and things go awry when the main character Briddey is somehow connected to someone else. Both were amazing books, and definitely two of my favourites of the year so far.

8) Newest Fictional Crush

29236299This is always the most difficult question for me since I’ve never been the type to get crushes on fictional characters. It didn’t help that many of the books I read this month were YA contemporary, which happened to have pretty generic love interests. I really liked C.B. from Crosstalk and Wallace from Eliza and Her Monsters, but I think if I had to pick one character, it would be Nik Malikov from Gemina. I just loved his interactions with Hanna and with his sister Ella, and generally loved any time he was on the page.

9) Newest Favourite Character

18584855Another tough choice, but I think I have to give it to Jest (and also Catherine) from Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I was a little worried going into this book after seeing such mixed reviews. Most of the reviewers I follow gave it 4 or 5 stars, but I’d also seen quite a few low reviews for it. I fully understand some of the major criticisms for this one, including that the ending seemed a little abrupt, but I absolutely adored this book. Marissa Meyer is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors, and I’m so glad I read this book. I loved the dynamics between Catherine and Jest, and I ended up loving each of them as separate characters as well. I loved all the references this book made to the original Alice in Wonderland story (and all the delicious food descriptions!), and this was a strong contender for favourite book up until I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

10) A Book That Made You Cry

31420736It’s rare for a book to literally make me cry, but I think the one that came closest so far this year was Bang by Barry Lyga. This book is about a boy named Sebastian who accidentally shot and killed his infant sister when he was only 4 years old, and is now considering suicide. This was by far one of the most powerful YA books I’ve read, and I loved how it addressed a unique topic and handled it so well. The characters, especially Sebastian, were so well-written and realistic. It was so easy to forget that Sebastian wasn’t actually a real person. There was one especially powerful section toward the end that had me almost in tears. This is definitely one of the strongest YA books I’ve read in a long time, and I’m so glad I read it.

11) A Book That Made You Happy

28111692This may be a bit of a silly choice, but I have to go with Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting by Brian Gordon. I’ve followed this comic series on Facebook for a long time because I find them hilarious. I am not a parent, but I have worked with kids, and have heard enough stories from my friends and co-workers who are parents to know how accurate many of these comics are. This book consists of a series of comics about parenting, with the family illustrated as ducks. I was slightly disappointed to find that I had already seen the majority of the comics online, so there wasn’t much in here that I hadn’t already read, but it was so much fun! I thought the duck characters were so cute, and it was so easy to see most of these scenarios happening in real life. This book was a lot of fun to read, and it definitely made me happy!

12) Favourite Book to Film Adaptation You Saw This Year

I have to give this one to season 2 of the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Like the first season, these adaptations have done an excellent job of bringing the book series to life. This season seems to have strayed away from the books a little more than the first season did, and while it was a bit of a surprise at first, it worked very well. The casting on this show is absolutely brilliant, and I can’t wait for the next season. I’d also give an honourable mention to season 2 of Thirteen Reasons Why. It wasn’t as strong as the first season, but I thought it was still quite powerful. I was so hesitant to watch it at all because it seemed so unnecessary to go beyond the original story, but I thought it was well-done.

13) Favourite Review You’ve Written This Year

I don’t really write reviews, but I will link a couple of my favourite posts that I’ve done this year:

14) Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought or Received So Far This Year

25526296I will change this one to the most beautiful book that I’ve read this year, because I want to give a special mention to Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. I generally don’t read novellas, but this one just sounded to good to pass up! It was another of my favourite books of the year. It was so beautifully written, and it was a very compelling story. The novella is about a boarding school for children who have returned from travelling to other worlds, and are now trying to readjust to their normal lives. This book focuses on Nancy, a new student who arrives to the school just before a series of murders begins. The story was amazing, and it definitely left me wanting more. I would have loved if this was a full-length novel, but I’m already looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

15) What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

There are still so many! I technically “need” to read all the 100 books remaining to finish my challenge within the year, but here are some of the books that I’m most excited for:




One thought on “The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2018)

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Tuesdays: Best Books I’ve Read This Year (So Far) | Abyssal Librarian

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