Mid Year Book Freak Out!

Wait... it's July?! Every year I say I won't have some kind of existential crisis when time moves too quickly. Every year I end up right here. However, 2020 has been kicking everyone while they're down, so it feels extra like The Twilight Zone this year. (If you aren't hearing the theme right now in your head, please leave.) This tag's name always seemed weird to me. Are we freaking out because we need to read more books? Are we freaking out in excitement because we love books? Are we freaking out because of how quickly the year is passing? Is it all of the above? Does anyone actually know?


Okay, now that that's out of my system... let's do a tag!


BEST BOOK YOU'VE READ SO FAR IN 2020?


This is a hard one. I think I'm going to go with Sadie by Courtney Summers. This book was wholly unique and exciting! I seldom pick up thriller/suspense novels, and even less often do I enjoy them so thoroughly. This one has received a lot of buzz lately, and I'm so very happy it lived up to the hype!


BEST SEQUEL YOU'VE READ SO FAR IN 2020?

Another difficult question... I'm torn somewhere between The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater and Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. Stiefvater's writing is so rich and beautiful. It was almost heartbreaking to see this series come to an end. However, Dragonfly in Amber was exceptionally heart-wrenching. The ending of that one was such a big shock that I immediately went out to buy the next book!


NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET, BUT WANT TO?

I'm sure this answer will pop up in countless others' tag, but I must say Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I've been seeing this one everywhere since it was announced. This book has had mixed reviews, quite literally since the day public opinion could get its hands on it. Regardless of the many opinions in the world about the main character, plot, cover, or overall quality of the actual book, I need to experience this and come to my own conclusions. Unfortunately, I'm on a book-buying ban. Until I get my hands on this one, I intend to reread the Hunger Games trilogy!


MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR SECOND HALF OF 2020?

To be entirely honest, I avoid buying new releases. I try to wait until the hype dies down and the prices of the book decline before acquiring my own copy. If I'm particularly excited/know about a new release far before the release date, it is typically because it's a sequel to a book I've loved or written by an author I adore.


I'm incredibly excited to pick up To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini. The Inheritance Cycle is one of my all-time favorite series. Everything about those books is just perfect. I've been craving a new release by Paolini for a very long time now. I am shocked that the new release by him is a science fiction novel! I'm expecting an entirely different, yet fantastic, experience from this novel when it is released in September. I'm intending to go into this one blindly, so I unfortunately cannot supply any synopsis.



(Photo not my own)

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT?

I hate to sound like I'm dragging this one through the dirt, but the most honest answer is The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. Mind you, I did enjoy this book. I don't want it to seem like I was so disappointed that I hated it. In fact, my disappointment was entirely my fault. I expected a hard-hitting historical fiction with a twist of romance. This book is actually a dual POV between WW1 and modern times. I loved the WW1 opening so very much, and was incredibly disappointed when the timeline shifted.


Another disappointment would be Soundless by Richelle Mead. However, I don't want to give this book a whole lot of description, because once again my biggest disappointment here was myself...



BIGGEST SURPRISE?

I've always loved Batman. I likely always will. I have never read a novel about Batman before this year though. I was pleasantly surprised what a fun time they are! So far this year, I've read A Court of Owls and Mad Love. The novel adaptation of A Killing Joke is in the close future for me. The comics will always have my heart, of course, but these are a lot of fun!



FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR?


I think this question is asking about an author I've read for the first time this year. I'm going to stretch this a little bit. I've read Ruth Ware before. I read In A Dark Dark Wood a few years ago. Honestly, I thought it was a pretty awfully done thriller. I decided I wouldn't ever pick up a Ruth Ware again. Then, I heard buzz about The Death of Mrs. Westaway being a beacon of light amongst Ware's works. This piqued my interest, but I still didn't make the plunge. However, when Ware adapted one of my favorite horror classics in Turn of the Key, I was hooked. I loved this book! Ware may just become a new favorite author. I plan to pick up The Death of Mrs. Westaway soon!.



NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH?


I'm going to simply skip this question. I don't typically develop book crushes. I certainly haven't developed any new ones this year. I'll gladly let you know if this changes.


NEWEST FAVORITE CHARACTER?

Typically I attach my feelings to characters I identify with. However, this time around, a new favorite character couldn't be further than myself. I am talking about Rosa from My Sister Rosa. She is ruthless, beguiling, and cold in a way my brain could never understand. Rosa created such a tense and fast-paced atmosphere in the book. I wish so badly we could get a sequel to tie up loose ends or a spin-off novella from her perspective!



BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY?

When dine-in was being closed in Ohio, I was spending my slow waitressing shifts reading Scythe by Neal Shusterman. I don't cry often from books. I never cry at work. I did both while reading this one... multiple times. I then immediately handed this book to my boss for her to experience the same thing! I'm told she did. If you have not yet, PICK THIS SERIES UP!

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY?

This is such a standard answer to this question, but I must be honest. I started off the year rereading Harry Potter. Though I do not align myself with the author and her opinions, I do align myself with the safety and comfort these books have brought me since my dicey childhood. I have finally picked up my copy of the illustrated Goblet of Fire. Oh, happiness. This book is my favorite in the series, so naturally it'd fit this category.


FAVORITE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION YOU SAW THIS YEAR?

I'm not much of a movie person. It's not that I dislike movies, I just have a really hard time sitting still and quiet that long...


I have, however, begun reading Ian Fleming's James Bond books again. On top of that, we found a boxed set including every Bond movie ever. Obviously we started watching them from the beginning. It's been a very long time since I've watched the Sean Connery Bond movies. I'm glad we are. These movies are incredibly faithful to the books, and I really appreciate such well done adaptations.


FAVORITE REVIEW YOU’VE WRITTEN THIS YEAR?

This blog is quite young. I started it after becoming a marketing major. My resume was seriously lacking some business credentials after so many years dedicated to a career in music. I decided a blog was a fantastic way to hone writing/marketing skills, while also creating an interactive portfolio. I did not expect to fall in love with blogging so very much. I'm excited and proud of every review I've written to date. I'm so happy to have found my niche in such a rewarding outlet!


MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU BOUGHT SO FAR THIS YEAR?

If you try to tell me that Rick Riordin's books don't all have the most stunning covers ever, I will meet you on the playground at dusk. That is all.


Honorable mention to the ARC of Frankie and the gift of fantasy that I received for review. Wowza!



WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?


Recently, I explored the concept of annotating books. I've decided it is something I'd really love to try. The Inheritance Cycle, which is likely my all-time favorite series, has a lot of meaning internally. It also has a lot of meaning to me as an individual from the difficult times it's brought me through. My ultimate reading goal this year is to not only reread these beloved favorites, but to dissect and annotate them!


There you have it! I've happily read 51 out of the 80 books that make up my GR goal this year. It has already been a fantastic reading year, and I'm looking forward to everything I plan to pick up in the coming months. I wish you the same success and great reading for the rest of 2020!

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