Hey everyone, welcome to my first Mid-year Freak Out Book Tag! I’ve not done this before in the four years I’ve been book blogging, so it was really fun. I’m insanely late in posting this, as I’ve been working on my dissertation proposal draft the past few weeks – however, without further ado, let’s get into it :D. (Quick note: I won’t be able to give reviews on all the books mentioned in this post, mostly because I’ve not been able to put my thoughts into words that would make sense, which I will mention when I get to the respective novels – though I will link to a review post, if I have written one for that novel so I don’t repeat myself). Title by Author Name (CAWPILE rating).
Best book so far this year
I have a lot of highly rated books from the first half of the year on CAWPILE and in terms of 5* reads – but I’ve actually got three books that have had the highest rating so far this year – and, with 9.93, they are;
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren is about a boy called Tanner who is going to his final year of high school, and is persuaded by his best friend Autumn to take part in the prestigious Seminar that his school does to challenge students to draft a novel in four months. It takes but a moment for Tanner to notice Sebastian Brother, a Mormon prodigy and Seminar participant who sold his novel the year before – and less than a month to fall in love with him….: I don’t read a lot of contemporaries (most of the books on my shelves are fantasy or sci-fi haha) but the ones I have read I’ve (for the most part) thoroughly enjoyed and this one was no exception. I read this with my best friend Tashi as our first read for our new bi monthly book club, run through Instagram, and we both loved it. It’s such a heartwarming story; the characters going through both happy and difficult times throughout the novel.
A Cornish Cottage by the Sea by Jane Linfoot follows Edie Browne, a young woman who’s life is changed in an instant after a successful skydive, and goes to Cornwall to stay with her Aunty Josey at Periwinkle Cottage to recuperate…: this was such a heart warming and educational read because of what she has gone and is going through as it progresses. (This is not a spoiler, as you find out early on in the novel) after suffering a stroke, Edie has to learn so many things over and the process is something no-one I know has – nor have I personally – gone through, so it was greatly educational for me to read a story from the point of a character who is going through such an experience. The heartwarming elements, for me, come from the little victories she has throughout the novel and how her new friends and aunt are around her, their reactions. It’s also entertaining in places, making me laugh in various places at character speech and various interactions.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness follows Diana Bishop, a historian who opens an alchemical manuscript at the Bodleian Library it brings an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her life. Although she is a witch of incredible lineage, the death of her parents when she was a child convinced Diana that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now she has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for most of her life. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist. Diana is incredibly drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the manuscript’s secrets and their feelings for each other grow stronger, the fragile peace between the creatures begins to unravel: I’m not going to write my thoughts on the book here, as I have a dedicated review which I will link here.
This is a difficult question, as I’ve read a number of sequels that I’ve loved these past six months so I’ll list my top 3 (in no particular order).
Ghostcatcher (Potkin and Stubbs #3) by Sophie Green (9.57) is the last novel in the Potkin and Stubbs series. Lil Potkin’s home is still being haunted, and City Hall’s solution is to enlist the help of an outfit called Ghostcatcher; who patrol the city’s streets every night following reports of ghostly goings on with their high-tech equipment. However they’re only following one spook, who the Herald has bubbed the Final Ghost and public enemy number one. But to Lil, he is Nedly Stubbs; her fellow investigator and best friend. With her help, Nedly stays one step ahead of Ghostcatcher…but for how long?: I have loved reading all three books in Sophie’s series, and Ghostcatcher has definitely been one of my favourite sequels of this year; and going to her event at Dial Lane Books , (our only independent bookstore so far in Ipswich) which had opened not long before, was so amazing and lovely.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas (9.00)…Feyre is now immortal; a High Fae with special gifts of her own. Having saved her lover Tamlin from the wicked Faerie Queen, she returns home to the Spring Court – but can’t forget the awful things she was forced to do, to save his people. Nor can she forget the bargain she made with the High Lord of the feared Night Court, Rhysand. As she is drawn ever deeper into his world, war is looming; an evil far greater than any queen threatening to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate, and give her heart to heal a world torn in two: this, unfortunately, is one of those books that I loved, but am unable to put the plethora of thoughts in my brain into words that would make sense to readers of this blog so….yeah haha.
These 2 are tied, though one has a higher CAWPILE rating by .10 !
Heartstopper Vol 3 by Alice Oseman (9.74)… in this volume, the gang go on a school trip to Paris – and not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but telling more people about their relationship too. They’re also learning more about the personal challenges they’re both facing. Meanwhile Tao and Elle both face their feelings towards each othe, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and do the supervising teachers on the trip seem…close?: I adored the first two volumes in this series, and this one was no exception – I read it in less than an hour! That’s all I can say haha
Siege and Sacrifice by Charlie N. Holmberg (9.64)…Sandis has finally freed herself from her master and his plans to use her as a vessel for an ancient beast. Now she faces a worse problem. He has found a new, impossible vessel in the form of her brother, Anon. A person she has long thought dead. Kolosos is ancient, massive, and apparently unbeatable. Thankfully, Sandis has her own monster—an ethereal fire horse she is able to summon at will – not to mention she and Rone may have discovered the secret to defeating Kolosos. An ancient lore that details the creation of magic, could be the key to victory and saving her brother. Though Sandis is willing to pay the steep price, Rone is not, and his attempt to save her only forces them apart. As they are both tested in ways they never expected, they will need to figure out the sacrifices they’ re willing to make. If their efforts are not enough, their city will fall…just as the ancient city beneath it already has: oh my goodness I love this series so much, and this was the perfect end – click here to read my more in-depth review.
New releases you want to read
I’m only going to include a photo of these (as will I do with the books that I want to read before the end of the year) with a quick note beneath them.
Technically, The Upside of Falling came out near the beginning of the year and is not a “new release” as such, but I’m counting all three as they have come out in 2020.
Most Anticipated Release
The Challenger by Taran Matharu – I’m doubly excited for this one!
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (6.93 – 3*)…..a young woman marries a widower and moves into his big house with him…that’s all I remember about this book: I had to read this for a uni module and…just…no. I am not a fan of the genre this fits into, but I wondered if I might be intrigued by the mystery aspects of it. I did not like it, and really wish I’d bought a second-hand paperback copy rather than the Kindle version – it has the same rating as The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, but I enjoyed the latter 10x more than this. I very nearly had a panic attack when we watched the film adaptation in one of the classes dedicated to the novel, because of the events within.
Flame in the Mist by Reneé Ahdieh (8.50- 4*)…Mariko is an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old she’s promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort–a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace. Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and find out who has put this target on her back. However, once within their ranks, Mariko finds she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities for the first time – even finding herself falling in love – which forces her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, purpose, and deepest desires: this has definitely been the biggest surprise so far this year as I was really unsure about it going into the story; a couple of my friends and BookTubers I watch, who have similar tastes to me didn’t enjoy it a great deal, so I was a little apprehensive going into it – but I actually enjoyed it a lot, I think because of the mystery and action within, and the adventure too.
Favourite New or New To You Author
Micheline Ryckman – The Maiden Ship.
Deborah Harkness – All Saints Trilogy
Newest Fictional Crush
Now, I don’t usually have fictional crushes – I have characters that I adore, but I don’t get crushes (unless it’s Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle…in which case the answer would be him – or Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke) – so I’m going to list the newest additions to the list of characters I adore, instead :).
Michael, from The Eve Illusion.
Matthew, from A Discovery of Witches.
Dain, from The Maiden Ship.
Zachary, from The Starless Sea.
Newest Favourite Character
Dain and Sable, The Maiden Ship
Made You Cry
Stormtide by Den Patrick
Frostfire by Jamie Smith
The Maiden Ship by Micheline Ryckman
Darkwhispers by Vashti Hardy
…..I am not going to say why.
Made You Happy
Kate and Clara’s Curious Cornish Craft Shop by Ali McNamara
The Creakers by Tom Fletcher
Most Beautiful Book So Far This Year
I have so many I could list here, I don’t think I can answer this question haha – but I may do a dedicated post at some point.
Want to Read Before the End of the Year
I have a lot of books I would love to read before the end of the year, but here are some from the top of my list – excluding re-reads and arcs.
Fiction*Don’t currently have, but hope to soon.
Solitaire, I Was Born For This and Loveless by Alice Oseman (I want to read other books she’s written too, but these are the ones I currently have).
The Challenger by Taran Matharu (I have this pre-ordered, and I’m so excited!)
Tower of Dawn and Kingdom of Ash, A Court of Wings and Fury (this I don’t have yet, but will do soon by Sarah J Maas (maybe Crescent City, too if I get these out of the way haha).
Children of Blood and Virtue by Tomi Adeyemi
*Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
*Truth Witch by Susan Dennard
*Isola: Volume 1 by Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher
*LOW Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini
Injection Volume 1 by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire
Snow White with the Red Hair by Sorata Akiduki
Assassin’s Apprentice and Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Scarlet Odyssey by C.T Rwizi
The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse
This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
*Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
The Templers by Dan Jones
The Mythology, History and Astronomy Books and Knowledge Encyclopedia: Space! by DK
I know this is still a fairly long list of books to aim for, but the manga and graphic novels on the list will definitely help knock some of them off – and I’m pretty fast reader, so I feel like I can tackle this list in no time hehe.
What would your answers to some of these be? I would love to know :).
You have wings. Believe in them and yourself, and you will fly.