June is over which means that we are over halfway done with 2021. Which, frankly, blows my mind. I don’t know if this year seems like it’s speeding by because 2020 was such a freakin’ slog, but I can’t believe it’s already July! But, seeming as we are past the midpoint of the year, it’s time to do the Mid-year Freak Out Book Tag! This tag is all over the bookish community, but I most recently read the tag that Fiona @ Fi’s Bibliofiles did. You should check out her blog because it is fantastic! Also, if anyone knows who originally created this tag, let me know so that I can properly credit them.
Alright, time to get to the tag!
WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK THAT YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2021?
I’ve only had 5 five star reads so far in 2021, but even if I had 100 by now, Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse would still be at the top! This book was SO GOOD. Like… it’s hard for me to explain in words how good this book was, even though I want to tell everyone about it because everyone needs to read it. Seriously, it’s incredible!
This is the beginning of an epic fantasy series set in Mesoamerica before colonization. It’s a beautiful and evocative tale that follows multiple characters as they prepare, in their own way, for the coming eclipse. Oh, and one of them may possibly be turning into a god. Everything about this story hooked me in and, though it’s a bigger book, I found myself flying through the pages. You can read my slightly more coherent review here!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE SEQUEL OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR?
I just started the Rivers of London series this year, but I’m already loving it so much. So far, the second book in the series, Moon Over Soho, has been my favorite! It felt like the series really hit it’s stride in that book and it’s been steadily fantastic ever since.
This series follows a policeman, Peter Grant, who discovers there is an entire magical department of the London Met that no one talks about. He soon finds himself as the newest (and only) wizard in training and it just gets better from there. There’s something about the combination of fantasy and a crime thriller just hits perfectly, I swear. It doesn’t sound like it would work, but it truly does! It helps that Ben Aaronovitch has a great, conversational tone to his writing and his main character, Peter, is just as sarcastic as I am. It makes for a very fun time!
IS THERE A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT YOU’RE REALLY EXCITED TO?
I received a beautiful copy of The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He from OwlCrate, but I would have ended up buying this book either way. I’ve heard incredible things about it and it sounds like it’s going to be amazing!
It features two sisters who have been separated. One is stuck on an island with no memories and the other is a STEM prodigy who won’t stop till she finds the other. I’ve been really enjoying books that feature familial relationships lately, so I think this one is going to be right in my ballpark. Also, this sounds like a sci-fi that I would adore! I’ve been wanting to read something by Joan He for awhile and I think this will be a perfect fit.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR?
If you’ve been around my blog for any amount of time, the answer to this question will not surprise you at all. It has to be Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko! This is the sequel to my favorite book of 2020, Raybearer. You best believe that I am so ready to continue Tarisai’s story and see how everything wraps up.
Also, just look at how gorgeous this cover is! I can’t decided which one I love more… though blue is my favorite color. I have an e-ARC of this book and you think I would have torn through it already. But… I don’t want it to be over 😩 Also, I kiiind of want to re-read Raybearer before I dive into it, too. But I’ll definitely have it read before it comes out in August. Be prepared for the gushing, y’all!
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT SO FAR?
The Gallery of Wonders by Marc Remus wasn’t on my radar until it was picked as a Middle Grade Marvels book of the month. When I did hear about it, though, I was so excited to read it! A magical land inside of a painting where the entire magic system is centered around painting/creativity? Yes please! Then… we actually read it.
Sigh… this book had so much potential and it just fell flat. There were so many points that felt like they were pulled directly from Harry Potter and just weren’t executed as well. I mean, if you’re looking for a replacement since J.K. Rowling is the worst, this might be something to explore, but it just left me feeling very meh. With such a whimsical premise, I was really hoping for more!
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SURPRISE SO FAR?
One of my favorite things about doing blog tours is when you sign up to read a book that isn’t your typical thing and end up absolutely loving it! That happened to me with Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon. This book took my heart, ripped it apart, and then stitched it back together!
We’re following a young woman named Evie who has sworn off of love following her parents’ divorce. But mysterious forces lead her to a dance studio… and the handsome grandson of the owners, X. This book is so much more than a love story, though. The way it tackles topics of grief, friendship, and the many different types of love is an absolute breath of fresh air. I can’t recommend this book enough! You can read my full review here.
A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY?
There have been a few books that have made me cry this year (the previous book included!). The one that has stuck with me the most, though, is Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. Probably because it made me cry both happy and sad tears!
This incredible debut follows Yadriel, who just wants to prove to his family that he is a true brujo. When he ends up raising the spirit of the neighborhood bad boy, however, he stumbles into something truly dark. I absolutely loved this book, from the vivid descriptions of Latinx culture to the sweet budding romance between Yadriel and the spirit he raised, Julian. I love them so muuuuuuch! There are a lot of moments that had me tearing up as I watched them on their journey.
A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY?
A book that I read very recently (as in, last month) and made me super happy was Malamander by Thomas Taylor! This was the June pick for Middle Grade Marvels and I absolutely adored it.
The story takes place in Eerie-on-Sea, a sleepy coastal town that is home to some particularly chilling legends. We follow Herbert Lemon, the Lost and Founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel, as he tries to help a lost girl become found. This book was so much fun and the illustrations were a definite plus! It was also creepy and atmospheric and completely enthralling. So much so that I already have the second book in the series on hold at the library, lol. I can’t wait to read the next installment!
WHAT BOOKS DO YOU WANT TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?
Oh dear… there are so many!! Here are just a few:
There you have it! So many more books to read and we’re already half done with 2021! That being said, I’m already at 55 books read and my overall goal for the year is 75 books. I don’t think I’ve been this far ahead on my reading goal in ages! Perhaps I’ll have to push my goal up again next year 👀
How is your reading going in 2021? Found any new favorites? Anything you’re really looking forward to in the latter half of the year? Let me know in the comments!
And, as always, happy reading!