The Mid-Year Freak Out Tag: 2019 Edition

Around this time last year I did the Mid-Year Freak Out Tag for the first time. It turned out to be a really great way of wrapping up the first half of the year so I’m bringing it back to my blog for a second go around in 2019.


Best Book of the Year So Far

I hate this question. Why? Why must you do this to me straight out of the gate? At this point, I’ve had a couple of 5 Star reads in 2019 (which I included as part of my top 10 reads of 2019 so far earlier this week) so this question is touggghhhh. I think I may hold out on answering this one for the moment. I know, such a cop out.


Favourite Sequel So Far

The Wicked King – Holly Black

26032887. sy475

Oh good, an easy one. Phew. The Wicked King takes this award for now. This series is an addiction for me. I just want to devour it all as fast as possible. I had high hopes for this sequel and it didn’t disappoint, thank god. The problem is, that after finishing it in about 24 hours, the wait for book three seemed ESPECIALLY agonising. I’ll definitely be re-reading this at some point down the line.


A New Release You Have Yet to Read but are Excited To

Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson

42201395

Most of my crazy-excited-for releases for 2019 either have already been read or are still yet to be released. However, Sorcery of Thorns is something I am looking forward to reading even if I’m not jumping out of my chair excited. The reviews have been good so far which is encouraging and I still find the blurb intriguing even after several months of it sitting on my Goodreads TBR. Fingers crossed for a good read when I get around to both buying and reading it.


Most Anticipated Release for the rest of 2019

This is another tough question. I recently did a Top Ten Tuesday on precisely this topic. There were six books on my list and I can safely say I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on all of them. The later months of the year can’t come fast enough. Still, if I absolutely had to narrow it down to just two, it’d likely be The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black & Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff – the minute those come out I’ll be locking myself in my room and reading until the late hours.


Biggest Disappointment So Far This Year

King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo

36307634. sy475

KoS wasn’t a bad read, just an average one. Then again, expectations were super high on this one. I’m still madly in love with the characters (I’m officially head of the Zoya fan club now) but the plot in KoS was on the slow side for me. When we did finally find some momentum, I wasn’t majorly engaged by the choice of narrative direction (even with the inclusion of an awesome dragon). Plus the ending… talk about complicated feelings.


Biggest Surprise

Again, but Better – Christine Riccio

41147279. sy475

Kind of a negative surprise with this one and mostly in terms of the number of issues there were with the writing. For someone who’s read as many books as Christine has in this genre and who’s actual job is talking about their pros & cons, I expected something better than this and was generally surprised that this was what she ended up with. More importantly, how her publisher and editor failed to course correct on a lot of things (e.g. extraneous detail) was also a little odd.


Favourite New to You or Debut Author

Colleen Hoover

Image result for colleen hoover

Despite having heard really good things about them, I had never read a Colleen Hoover book until this year. I can now say that I’ve read two and really liked both of them. It Ends with Us was an interesting look at an abusive relationship and it actually made me consider things in a way I hadn’t before. Verity, on the other hand, was dark and addictive, and very enjoyable. I’ll definitely check out more of her books in the future.


Favourite Fictional Crush

None of the characters in the books I’ve read so far this year have really done anything for me on this side of things. There have certainly been a lot of characters that I’ve really liked, just not ones I’ve sat there swooning over. A lot of the time I get really on board with shipping characters with each other but not with me. Check back at the end of the year!


New Favourite Character

Spensa Nightshade (Skyward – Brandon Sanderson)

42386381. sy475

There are several good characters in the books I’ve read so far this year but I’ll go with Spensa for this one. She’s definitely someone who takes some getting used to at first (as in, she’s hugely intense) but after a while you see just how strong, hardworking, funny, loyal and kind she is. If I needed to pick a fictional character to have my back in a tough situation, Spensa would be high on the list. Bonus – she’s also a kick ass pilot.


A Book That Made You Cry

Always Never Yours – Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka

34092885

I don’t really cry during books very often. It’s probably happened with only about three or four, so this one I base on getting that sad, hollow feeling in your chest. Always Never Yours is actually a fun and sweet, little contemporary, but for some reason, towards the end of the book, where Megan is feeling really lost and down on herself, it hit me harder than expected. Of course, it ends happily (as you would want in a book like this).


A Book That Made You Happy

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

46122069. sy475

RW&RB very much gave me the happys. I had a huge smile on my face throughout large chunks of it which is partially why I rated it so highly. It’s such a sweet, positive and funny read. Honestly, if you’re having a bad day or even week, this book is definitely the medicine to rectify it. Bring a little Henry and Alex into your life.


Favourite Adaptation so Far

Image result for killing eve

As I mentioned recently in one of my wrap ups, I finally got around to watching seasons one and two of Killing Eve and massively enjoyed it. This show is an adaptation of the e-book novellas by Luke Jennings. The series blends espionage, thrills, drama and dark comedy into something unique and wonderful. The acting is fabulous (Jodie and Sandra = love) and I’m so keen for season three, whenever it makes itself known. And with only short season runs, it’s perfectly bingeable.


Favourite Post You’ve Written So Far This Year

Like last year, I’ll choose two posts for this prompt – a book review and a discussion. I have a bit of a soft spot for my Skyward by Brandon Sanderson review. I like the flow and the coverage. Discussion wise, I enjoyed writing about the importance of fanfiction and thought it was a cute and fun topic to look at.


Most Beautiful Book Bought

The Name of the Wind 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition – Patrick Rothfuss

34347493

I took a chance and bought this special edition without knowing whether I’d like the book itself. But the darn thing just looks so damn pretty. There’s beautiful illustrations scattered throughout, a nice looking jacket, red stained page edges, info about money, calendars and a whole bunch of other things, and I rather like the front inner cover as well. No regrets at all.


Books you Want to Read Before the End of the Year

I definitely need to do a reread of both Nevernight books to get primed and refreshed for when Darkdawn releases later this year. It’ll probably take me a good long while, but I’d also very much like to tackle The Priory of the Orange Tree in all it’s bug smashing, paper weight glory. And if I were being super optimistic, I’d love it if I finally went back to and finished Iron Gold, especially considering The Dark Age will be released very, very soon. Hopefully they’re all achievable goals!

It’s crazy to think we’re more than halfway through the year now. If only I were halfway towards my Goodreads goal as well – eek! Still, despite this tag’s name, I wouldn’t say I’m freaking out too much this year. Hopefully I have a bunch of exciting books to tackle in the second half of the year.

Advertisements

Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite Reads of 2019…So Far

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is actually supposed to be a character based freebie. However, as we’re now around halfway through 2019, I’m doing a list of my favourite reads of the year so far. I did a similar list in 2018 and found it really interesting to compare it with the final top 10 at the end of the year to see how things had changed. So here they are, in no particular order and excluding re-reads:

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

46122069. sy475

The first of several obvious choices for this list. I don’t hand out five stars that often in my reviews but this fun book is one of a few that have successfully hit the jackpot in 2019. I had such a good time reading this – the characters are great, the dialogue is funny, it’s super queer positive, and the romance is so shippable it hurts. This is a perfect example of what new adult could be. As my eleven year old self would have said, Alex and Henry 4eva!


The Wicked King – Holly Black

26032887. sy475

You know those books that you’re so excited for, you binge read them in about a day? It’s rare for me these days but TWK was one of them and not a disappointment at all. The twists keep coming, the characters are still devious little bastards, the romance smolders just a bit, and we get more info on the world. I can’t get enough of this series and I’m counting down the days until The Queen of Nothing releases.


The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang

40040720

I like big BOOKS and I cannot lie…especially if it’s this book. The Poppy War was an intense ride (how could it not be drawing from especially bloody moments in Chinese history) but dramatically enjoyable all the same. This book had some turns I didn’t see coming and ended in a way that had me going, did that really just happen? Like other books on this list, is has great characters and a fascinating setting. It also features a layered protagonist, plus bonus points were awarded for catering to some of my fantasy trope fettishes.


Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

42386381. sy475

Why, hello there kickass sci-fi written by a fantastic fantasy writer. This book is basically a movie in literary form, in the best way possible. There’s humour, friendship, action, compelling world building, an engaging plot, and characters that grow on you like moss. The sequel to Skyward is another one of my most anticipated releases for the rest of the year because after that ending, I need to know where we go from here. But also I miss Spensa’s random proclamations of blood and violence.


Verity – Colleen Hoover

41957126. sy475

If I had one word to describe Verity, it’d be ‘addictive’ because this was one book I had a lot of trouble putting down. It’s different from Colleen’s usual romantic reads (there is a romance though) but it goes to show, she can do thrillers just as well as her usual genre. A creepy setting, a story which makes you question everything, and then an ending which goes from 0-100 – definitely a book I’ll be recommending to friends.


The Boy Who Steals Houses – C. G. Drews

40170373. sy475

TBWSH was an unexpected gem. This novel was such a perfect mix of sweet and fluffy, and tear your heart out sad. It’s got memorable characters, great autism rep, fun banter, and lovely sibling relationships. And waffles, can’t forget the waffles. As far as YA contemporaries go, a good choice and from an Aussie author to boot!


Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

19174917

This book is one of the most loved YA contemporaries around and in January, I finally sat down and read it. I honestly expected the hype to be massively over the top on Fangirl, but I ended up really enjoying it. As a bookworm, I think it’s hard not to relate to Cat on some level in all her crazy fan ways. I liked the fact that the book was a little older in feeling than some other YA out there and also that it took the time to deal with some not so light topics whilst still feeling sweet overall. Worth a reread down the line.


The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

34347493

It only took me about four months but it was certainly worth the time and effort. The amount of work that’s gone into this book is pretty staggering and even if I hadn’t enjoyed the story itself, that alone would be impressive. However, I did enjoy the story. There will likely be people out there who’ll find the direction and pacing a bit slow but for me, I was there for it from start to finish. Now the question is: do I read book two knowing book three is nowhere near release or hold off? Hm…


It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover

29626641. sy475

Colleen is doing very well as far as my 2019 is concerned. This was my first experience with her writing and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, only that it would involve a romance and some form of complication. Here she manages to take something as dark as domestic violence and handle it fantastically with all of its emotional complexity. It really helped me think about things differently than I had before. The characters are also likeable, deep and really help connect you with the story itself.


The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

25786523

While the plot is slower at points, the strengths of this particular book are it’s rich and diverse characters, and fabulous world building. Chamber’s universe is full of a multitude of vastly different species all with their own languages, cultures, and histories, and just travelling the universe with her lovely, little Wayfarer crew (or family) is a wonderful ride in itself. There’s adventure, humour, romance, friendship, and most importantly, acceptance of anyone and everyone for exactly who they are.

And that’s my top ten reads for 2019…so far. I expect things to shift a lot by the time we reach the end of the year if 2018 is anything to go by. From what I can see at this point, I’ve read quite a lot of good books over the past six months. Here’s hoping for a bunch more during the rest of the year!

What are some of your favourite reads of 2019 so far?

And That’s a Wrap: April ’19 Edition (+ OWLs Magical Readathon Results)

As I mentioned in my TBR post for April, I participated in the OWLs Magical Readathon hosted by G @ Bookroast again this year. This time around we were able to tailor our subject choices to achieve certain wizarding career choices and I decided to go for either an Auror or Hogwarts Professor (depending on the number of subjects I managed to get through). While my blogging efforts may have been abysmal this month, my reading numbers were on track.

I managed to get through 6 books and 1 comic this month which I’m quite pleased with. I completed each of the core subjects I needed to cover for either of my chosen careers and covered enough subjects in total to do the Hogwarts professor career if I want to. Guess we’ll just have to see if I can keep it up when the NEWTs readathon rolls around.

Herbology: A Plant on the Cover

It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover ★★★★

My first Colleen Hoover book and a great pick too. Colleen’s writing style is really easy to get on board with. She takes a heavy topic like domestic violence and manages to perfectly express the emotional complexity of such a situation in all its shades of grey. I really liked the characters and feel like they were given a good degree of depth. The book ends in a really nice way as well. I will 100% look into reading some of her other work.

Arithmancy – Written By Two or More Authors

Always Never Yours – Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
★★★★

Is this a perfect read? No, but is it enjoyably fluffy? Very much so. I mean, there’s a cute theatre related story involving a production of Romeo & Juliet, as well as a sweet, biracial romantic lead. We’re already ahead. While the lead, Megan, is frustrating (& young) at times, I did like the fact that she was confident in her own sexuality, learnt from her mistakes, and that she and Owen had fabulous chemistry (I ship them HARD). The plot was sort of on the melodramatic side at times but not enough to really turn me off. Also, for a co-authored book, the writing is very smooth (and in a few moments quite funny). I’ll definitely look into reading their next book – If I’m Being Honest.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Reducto: Book/Series starting with ‘R’

Radio Silence – Alice Oseman ★★★★

This book felt quite different from a lot of the other YA contemporaries I’ve read. The characters have great depth and are really well developed, plus the story just feels very real. There’s LGBTI representation all over it, but at the same time the focus of the book is on a friendship (& a really sweet one at that), rather than a romance which I freakin’ loved. There are also a lot of themes e.g. finding yourself, dealing with difficult family situations, and that there are multiple pathways to success in life, that I think younger readers will really relate to and benefit from. There are moments where it does feel a little long yet, overall I think it’s a good read.

Potions – Next Ingredient: A Sequel

City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare ★★★

Better than City of Fallen Angels but still nowhere near as enjoyable as City of Glass. That’s where we’re at with this. To be fair, I ended up enjoying this more than I thought I would, however there were still some majorly annoying elements. The frustrating Clary-Jace angst was still there, but because Jace is kind of mind-warped for most of the book, it’s far more bearable than CoFA (that’s wrong for me to say, isn’t it? Eh.) Maia & Jordan are boring and there’s quite a lot of nothing plot sections in the middle, but at least my little Sizzy Ship is starting to set sail. If only Alec and Magnus were doing as well…

History of Magic – Published at Least 10 Years Ago

Pet Sematary – Stephen King ★★★.5

If you were to look up the term ‘slow-burn’, you would 100% find a reference to this book. While a major moment does happen about two thirds of the way through, the s*** does not properly hit the fan until the book’s almost over. This was actually my very first audiobook and Michael C. Hall is an absolutely amazing narrator. While the book is slow, I found that it didn’t bother me a great deal as I was focused on what it was saying about ideas like death, grief and family. However, once again, King lets me down on the ending. Not a bad read but not something I’ll reread (re-listen to?) either.

Charms – An Adult Book

Middlegame – Seanan McGuire ★★ (ARC)

The blurb for this one had me really excited to get stuck in, but in the end the book didn’t live up to expectations. Confused is how I would describe myself through most of this. I kept feeling like things would finally make sense and…they didn’t. The concept is interesting, I just couldn’t get on board with the execution. The plot is really slow and while the characters were okay, overall I just wasn’t that phased by them. The constant time jumps and re-writing of history (aka the events I’d previously read) didn’t exactly help. Honestly, by halfway, this was struggle town to finish, but at least the momentum increased in the climax/ending.

Transfiguration – A Red Cover

Saga Vol. 2 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples ★★★★.5

This comic series is so bizarre and wacky but I kind of love it. The art is wonderfully done and the dialogue is fabulously funny at points. Even the story itself is a great blend of sci fi, action, and romance. I’m kind of disappointed in myself for waiting so long to read vol. 2, in fact. Good thing I have vol. 3 already ready to go because that ending…

Only three books to add to my TBR this month. The Near Witch I bought because I attended a V. E. Schwab signing and thought I should probably buy her new/first release for her to sign. Red, White & Royal Blue is a Netgalley approval and I’m so excited to read it because early reviews have been great! Verity I’ve been intrigued by for a while but because it’s not a wide publication, I ended up buying it on my Kindle. Truth be told, I’ve already finished it (in about two days) and it was great. Addictively dark.

It was a very, very sad blogging month in April but I think I needed a bit of a break. Next month may be light on the post count as well but there should at least be more than this month. Here are the extremely small number of posts from April (excluding my TBR post):

Aside from Verity, which I’ve already finished, here are some of the things I plan to tackle in May. I started One True Loves yesterday so that’s already under way. Aurora Rising comes out this coming week and of course I’m going to drop everything to read it. I also plan to continue with the Saga comic series. It looks like a good month ahead!

As I mentioned above, I went to a Victoria Schwab signing this month! AHHHHHH! I honestly didn’t think I’d ever get to meet Schwaby unless I flew to the states for some kind of event and then, next thing I know, she’s doing signings in Australia. Wooooo. At the Sydney event, she was interviewed by Australian fantasy author, Garth Nix (he wrote Sabriel). It was a short little Q&A but quite funny and nice. Among other things, Victoria talked about her crazy writing process, dog, love of Edinburgh, and current project – The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue (which sounds amazing). She’s such a sweet person and arrived wearing a cat ear headband, so there’s that. Plus she had no problem signing the mountainous stacks of books many people brought (me included).

TV & Music

This month I’ve started watching Gotham on Netflix. They’ve definitely done a lot of things different from what you’d expect of a simple prequel of the Batman comics but I guess that’s okay. Keeps things interesting. I’ve also got back into watching Grey’s Anatomy. My sister and I are now on season 7 – I cannot believe we’ve seen that many seasons so far and there’s still like…8 to go. Crazy. Even when it’s not amazingly good, the drama is so addictive.

Deluxe

I’ve been majorly replaying Aly & AJ’s new music this month. It’s got such a great sound and I’m loving the 80s synth/electric vibes. Plus the new video for their song Church is stunning. I used to love their music back in the day – it’s nice to see it grow and change as I have. Also, we’re finally in the new Taylor Swift era. YAAAASSSS. I am unashamedly a big T-Swizzle fan and it’s so exciting to be getting new music. Me! isn’t the best song she’s ever produced, but it’s definitely fun and happy, and I love that it’s a Brendon Urie collab.

And that’s it from me for April! As always, I hope you had a good reading month and I wish you an even better one for the month ahead. What was your favourite book of April?

Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my Christmas List (Or Will Just Buy Myself Anyway)

This particular Top Ten Tuesday topic is actually scheduled for next week, but as I kind of already did this week’s topic two weeks back, and by the time it’s correct to do it I will have already opened my presents, I thought, why not do it now instead? Here are ten books I’m hoping to find under my Christmas tree this year (and which, if not, I’ll just go buy myself anyway).


It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover

29626641

Divider 3

Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

36642458

Divider 3

One True Loves – Taylor Jenkins Reid

27189194

Divider 3

Tempests and Slaughter – Tamora Pierce

17312156

Divider 3

I was Born for This – Alice Oseman

34325090

Divider 3

Archenemies – Marissa Meyer

35425827

Divider 3

Truly Devious – Maureen Johnson

29589074

Divider 3

The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang

36199084

Divider 3

The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski

16069030

Divider 3

The Dark Vault – V. E. Schwab

Image result for the dark vault

Divider 3

Honestly, ten is likely a bit much to receive in one go, (or so the logical part of my brain tells me), but hopefully I’ll get one or two to add to my physical TBR. I’m really excited regardless of which I receive because they all look like awesome reads. Some of them have featured on other lists this year so this might finally be the chance for me to actually get and read them!

What books are you hoping to receive for Christmas this year?