It’s time for one of my favorite blog posts of the year–the Mid-Year Book Freak-Out tag, created by Earl Grey Books and Chami! I love this way of looking back on my reading over the first half of the year, because it helps me better analyze where I’m at and where I want to go with my reading over the coming months.
Oh, and I always give multiple answers for each question, because I like to be able to feature as many of the books I’ve loved as possible; I try not to repeat books for multiple prompts for the same reason. I’ve also tried to provide links to the books I’ve loved, so that you can check them out if they sound interesting. Let’s get started!
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
Tied for best book of the year (so far) are 4 of my 5-star reads for the first half of 2022: My Monticello by (short story collection); All’s Well by Mona Awad (Shakespeare-inspired fabulism); Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (science fiction/fantasy); and Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap (mythology-inspired short story collection).
And some runner-up faves:
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021
My favorite sequels so far this year have all been romances: Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur (contemporary), Electric Idol by Katee Robert (loose Greek mythology Eros/Psyche retelling), and Our Favorite Songs by Anita Kelly (contemporary novella).
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to
So many; even though I have actually read lots of 2022 releases so far I still feel like I’m so behind on everything I want to get to. Some of my top priorities are Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse (fantasy sequel), Book Lovers by Emily Henry (contemporary romance), Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda (literary vampire novel), and A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross (fantasy).
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Again, so many! I almost can’t believe that some of my most anticipated reads of the year haven’t even come out yet. I narrowed it down as much as I could to 6 (and all of them are sequels): Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn (YA King Arthur-inspired contemporary fantasy); The World We Make by N.K. Jemisin (contemporary fantasy); Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble (contemporary romance); The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake (dark academia fantasy); Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews (paranormal romance); and The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik (YA fantasy).
5. Biggest disappointment
Without question House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas, my only 2 star read of the year. This book was SO BAD. It made me really frustrated to read, put me into a reading slump, and is making me question picking up more from this author in the future, whereas previously I’d have considered her one of my favorite fantasy romance writers.
6. Biggest surprise
I thought of 2 books that surprised me, in different ways; Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins surprised me because it was written decades ago but felt so contemporary in both its storytelling and its themes; and Out Front the Following Sea by Leah Angstman surprised me because I’m not generally a historical fiction reader but was fully entranced by this one and its themes of misogyny that are still relevant today.
7. Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)
I can’t wait to read more from fantasy authors M.A. Carrick and T. Kingfisher, and I’m so glad to have discovered delightful contemporary romance author Anita Kelly.
8. Favorite fictional couples (technically, this prompt was favorite fictional crush, but I can’t think of any, so I figured I’d instead highlight some of my favorite fictional couples of the year)
I’ve read a lot of great romance this year; the couples that stand out the most to me in terms of favorites were from Get it Right by Skye Kilaen, She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick, and Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly.
9. Newest favorite character(s)
I loved all 3 of the main characters in Light From Uncommon Stars; despite the genre mash-up and crazy plot elements, they were all such fully drawn and memorable presences. I can’t wait to see what this author writes next!
10. Book that made you cry
The titular novella in My Monticello absolutely made me sob. I’m not going to say why, but this collection is phenomenal, and everyone needs to read it.
11. Book that made you happy
I’m going with my 2 re-reads for this category! I never regret re-reading a favorite book, and both In Other Lands and Boyfriend Material helped cheer me up and bring me out of reading slumps this year.
12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
I’m a bit behind schedule on my Top 10 TBR for 2022, but only a bit. I already started Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker (short story collection), and I need to fully read the final 5 books from my list. Unfortunately, I believe I’ve left the 2 longest books from the list for the second half of the year (In the Night Garden and The Actual Star).
Bonus question! Most-read authors of 2022 (so far): I’ve read 3 books each from these 3 romance authors; we’ll have to see which if any becomes my official most-read author of the year.