Friday 26 July 2019


The Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2019

The Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2019

The Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2019

This post contains affiliate links.

Titles marked with an asterisk (*) were gifted to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Seeing as we're now in July (how? HOW?!), today I'm taking part in The Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag! Not all of these questions are the original questions - I got rid of three, and added three questions Cait of Paper Fury created in her own tag. For all the original questions, head to Cait's post, where she has a handy list. And now, onwards!

How many books have you read?

At the end of June, I'd only read 29 books! Just 29! I'm not the fastest reader, but even so, that is really pretty low for me. But I've had several migraines which meant I couldn't read, and several books it took me forever to read because I just wasn't that interested. And I've also realised that now I schedule posts well in advance, blogging is actually cutting into my reading time. But I'm not going to let it bother me. I read at the rate that I read, and that's fine.

What have you read?

Of those 29 books, I have read:
  • Genres: 11 high fantasies, 8 retellings, 7 contemporaries, 2 thrillers, 2 urban fantasies, 2 contemporary fantasies, 1 historical, 1 sci-fi, 1 dystopia, and 1 horror (some books blend genres, so the total won't equal 29)
  • Diverse books: 14 LGBTQ* books, 9 books by authors of colour, 5 books by Muslim authors, 27 female authors, 2 non-binary authors, 1 male author.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

Furyborn by Claire Legrand Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

I'm going with a few because I can. So it seems this year has been quite awesome for me in regards to fantastic high fantasy! Oh my god, how I adore Furyborn* and Kingsbane* by Claire Legrand! They're so good! Flawed characters, high stakes, fast paced! Just brilliant!

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence* was a fantastic end to The Book of the Ancestor Trilogy! Nona is my favourite stabby little nun, and I love her! So much action, and such an edge-of-your-seat story. Really, really emotional, too. And how can I not mention The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty*? HFIORAHGAOLHTEKGJHG! I loved this book and all it's revelations, and I absolutely cannot wait to see where the twists will lead in The Empire of Gold! I am so excited!

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

So many. SO. MANY! But would you look at this list?! I'm calling 2019 the year of fantasy. I am so excited for all of these. I would like it very much if publishing would just hold off on publishing any more books until I can catch up, please. Thank you.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson* Nocturna by Maya Motayne* The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale* We Are Blood And Thunder by Kesia Lupo*

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

How long do you have? There are so many fantastic books coming out in July to December! This isn't even all of them! Can publishing please hurry up and publish these already so I can read them? Please!

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal* The Grace Year by Kim Liggett* Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart*

All the Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman* The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton* Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry* The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave*

Biggest disappointment

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Oh, I have had a few, and quite recently. I was really in the mood for atmospheric and creepy YA - think Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle* or The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw*, and I picked up certain books believing they were going to give me all of that. But they king of didn't. Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin* was a major let down. To be quite honest, nothing major really happens until quite close to the end. And owls just aren't scary? The whole vibe promised it was going to get more sinister, but just didn't deliver. There was no atmosphere, there was no creepiness. It just wasn't for me.

I actually enjoyed Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan* mostly. It's just, again, not a huge amount happens overall, and there are lots of questions with very few answers. It's kind of atmospheric, but slow building, and it only got creepy towards the end. It felt very much like the first book in a series, but if it's a standalone, it is incredibly disappointing.

For the most part, The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees is incredible! It's just the "Part 2" section of the book - which is maybe the final third? - was quite a let down. The premise and the twists were spectacular, but once we know what's going on, things fell kind of flat. I feel like Part 1 should have been made a little longer, and be one book, and Part 2 should have been developed a hell of a lot more, and made into a sequel. The two parts just didn't match up, really, for me.

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman*, my review of which is still to come, wasn't a bad book, it was just mis-sold. Publishers were saying it was for fans of Stranger Things, and a blogger said for fans of Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, and it wasn't really for either. Those comps made me expect a hell of a lot more than I got. It's actually a pretty good urban fantasy, and we definitely need more, but I was just expecting something completely different, so I was pretty disappointed. Will be reading the sequel, though!

Biggest surprise

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon*. Oh my god, this book could have been so amazing! Could have. But it's one big, massive standalone when it should have been at the very least a duology, if not a trilogy. There just wasn't enough development of certain aspects of the story. Certain events needed to be bigger. Some characters deserved a hell of a lot more than they got. It's not a bad story, it just needed to be longer. I didn't get emotionally involved enough, and I wasn't that bothered by what the outcome might be. There was so much buzz around this book, and it could have been incredible, but it fell pretty short for me.

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

It has absolutely got to be Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto*! This book was just incredible! Such a wonderful high fantasy, one that took me right back to when I first fell in love with reading. It was like discovering the wonder of reading all over again, and I was completely swept away by this amazing story! I am so, so excited to read the sequel, Heart of Flames, next year!

Underrated gems you've discovered recently

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox

Oh, there have been a couple! I don't see many people talking about Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust, but it's absolutely gorgeous! An f/f retelling of Snow White, but it also has the villain origin story for the Evil Queen, and it's narrated by them both. It's such an incredible high fantasy, and so beautifully told! Quite an emotional story, too! I absolutely loved it!

How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox (my review of which is coming next month) came out just recently, and oh my god, it's bloody incredible! It's the most beautiful and heartfelt exploration of mental illness and grief, and has some of the most gorgeous friendships. It's just so raw and painful, but so pure and full of hope! This story made me ache, but in the best way. I've not seen anyone other than Cait of Paper Fury talk about this, which is so sad. But you should definitely read Cait's interview with Helena Fox - it's what made me buy the book. Fox's answers are just so beautifully written, and so incredible. One at the very end needs to be made into a print.

Book that made you cry

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

How It Feels to Float got very close, as is my current read (at the time of writing), How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow. It's about a girl whose mother dies suddenly, and it explores foster care and family secrets, grief and guilt and love. Oh my god, it's just wonderful and heartbreaking, and devastating, but in some ways also really sweet in places. This book is such an emotional rollercoaster, I am really, really loving it.

Book that made you happy

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer*! Aah, how I loved this story! It's a high fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and it's just so, so good! The worldbuilding! The action! The heartbreak! The twists! It was just so exciting, and everything my retelling and high fantasy loving heart could wish for! Oh my god, oh my god, I am so excited for the sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken! It is going to be epic, and it is going to break my heart, but it's going to be amazing!

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

Photo of Descendant of the Crane by Joan He, The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad, The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty, Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh, and Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

These ones. These ones! Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (won), The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad (won), The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty*, Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (traded), and Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto (bought)! They're all so beautiful! Haven't read Reign of the Fallen yet, but if I love it, I might just have to get a finished copy, because look at that cover!

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

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

All that I've not yet read and are also anticipating? But mostly I need to read - and by need, I don't mean need as in have to, should do, for the sake of publishers, but need to as in I personally need to have read this book by the end of the year - Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan. Girls of Paper and Fire was not only incredible, but it meant so, so much to me (read my personal response for the paperback blog tour), and I am desperate to read the sequel. It's a book my soul needs, because I know it's going to be so healing to be so understood.

You may also like:

My Most Anticipated Retellings From July - Dec 2019

My Most Anticipated 2019 YA SFF Releases by Authors of Colour The I Should Have Read That Book Tag

Over to you graphic

How has your reading been so far this year? What's been your favourite book/s? Your biggest disappointment/s? What are you really looking forward to reading? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Ahhhhh I need to read A Curse So Dark and Lonely already!! I love Beauty & the Beast retellings <3

  2. Sorry to hear The Devouring Gray didn't match up to your expectations! It's probably going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. But I'm glad you were still able to enjoy it enough to anticipate the sequel, lol. My reading has been a bit stop and go this year (largely in part because of what you mentioned at the beginning of this post - taking forever to finish one book because you're not that interested) but overall I have read a lot of good books :)