Hello all! It is that time of year again. It is the first of June, meaning we are halfway through the year and some people are well... freaking out! Luckily I am not one of them as I am somehow (*cough Covid cough*) flying through books like it's nobody's business this year. That being said, it is a great way to check in with you since it's been awhile!
If you decide to do this tag, let me know as I would love to see what you have been feeding your mind with this year so far. Or if you just want to comment and tell me your fave and least favourite book you've picked up, that's fine too. Let's start a conversation about books!
I took my questions from the lovely, and hilarious, Paper Fury's blog. Please check it out if you are looking for some fantastic book content! https://paperfury.com/2020-mid-year-book-freak-out-tag/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-2
How Much Have You Read
My goal for the year was going to be 25 books. I smashed the '100 mark' last year and I didn't think that it would be something that I could do again. I was supposed to be working full time and I wanted to focus on my writing this year, so I made it more of a goal to read bigger books or books that intimidated me rather than as many as I could. As I write this, I have just hit 66 books! This year has not gone at all like I have planned. Writing has taken a backseat (although, I am doing Camp NaNoWriMo at the minute to help bring me back on track with that), and i've been through furlough and losing my job because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This higher amount of time at home has led me to lean heavily on a huge comfort and joy in my life, reading. I have now raised my goal to 100. I am hoping to be getting a new job, etc. but I think that it's feasible for me to hit my goal on top of my responsibilities.
What Have You Been Reading
I love this question, but I don't have any fancy pie charts like Paper Fury! All I have is my scribbled lists and notes in my reading journal where I organise my books by genre. According to that situation, I have been reading mostly fantasy (whaaaat??) and adult contemporaries/literary fiction. I really and truly can't believe this. If you would have asked me last year, I would have told you that I was quickly moving fantasy out of my life, but it seems that I have started to fall in love with it all over again. Maybe it's because the world is so much of a mess right now that I need to REALLY escape when I pick up a book. Like to a completely fictional world. Adult contemporaries/ literary fiction is what I would describe most of my favourite books as, so i'm not surprised that this is as high as it is.
Best Book You've Read So Far in 2020
This is such a high-stakes question! Beach Read by Emily Henry blew my mind. It had everything that I love in a story. The romance was spot-on and the other plot points were just as excellent. The family drama was heavy, the whole idea that they write a different genre to get out of their writing slumps... I just want to re-read it now! I also just finished The Raven Boys and I can't believe how long it took me to read it. I was really sceptical because Maggie Stiefvater and I do not have a glowing history, but this book... phenomenal. I can't wait to read more.
Best Sequel You've Read So Far in 2020
This one is really easy for me. I absolutely tore through the Strange the Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor a few months ago. They'd easily go into the best books I have read this year as well, but I thought I could talk about it here instead and get the best of both worlds! Lazlo Strange is one of the best characters I have read... ever? I feel like he's real in my head. The world is complex and unique and it truly transported me to a different place when I read it. I know it's not for everyone, but if you like beautiful writing and whimsical landscapes, I have got the series for you.
I am going to smash the new releases categories together because fact of the matter is, I am not really reading new releases at the minute. I have, for the most part, become the kind of reader that likes to do a lot of research on the books I am going to pick up, so I read a lot of reviews and watch a lot of videos before I make a book purchase. There's just so many books out there and I want to make sure that I am reading the ones that I know i'll love (at least more than I might just randomly picking one up at a store because of a pretty cover). Because of that, pretty much all of my books are 'backlisted'. I don't think that I actually own any books that could be considered new releases. A couple that have stuck out to me throughout my bookish browsing, however are The Vanishing Half and My Dark Vanessa. If you've read either, let me know what you think!
Oh my goodness. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo absolutely let me down so far that I think I sunk into the ground. Someone whose opinions I trust quite heavily when it comes to reading suggested this book once and I was like.... this is it. I am going to love the heck out of this book. It stuck in the back of my mind for years and I even bought a book once thinking that it was The Light We Lost, but it was something else. When I finally got my hands on it, I couldn't wait to start reading and to see if it matched the hype. It even has Reese Witherspoon's bookclub sticker on it, which is a sure sign I will like it because I LOVE her bookclub picks. And then... I didn't. At all. To shorten my lengthy Goodreads review to something more palatable, 'This book is basically just one giant look at a poor mistake with also a random 9/11 thread.' So heartbreaking.
Oh... also The Starless Sea. I literally couldn't stand it and everybody else loves it. It was like one long sting of nonsense. Now I am scared to read The Night Circus.
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter and The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. I do not like thrillers/mysteries. I have tried again and again and again and I never like them! It drives me up a wall because I love scary movies and I love suspense and a plot twist is one of my favourite things that literature does. But!!! I have found a few that I enjoyed. Neither of these were 5 star reads for me, but they have both redeemed the genre for me. I can now look forward to years of plodding through piles of mediocre thrillers to find the good ones. Can I just say, though.... thrillers always seem to have a fat-shaming plotline where one of the characters hates and despises everything about her body and it stresses me out. Let's fix that up.
New Favourite Author (Debut or New To You)/ Most Beautiful Book You've Bought So Far This Year
I don't think that I have read any debut authors this year. Can somebody sort through my Goodreads and tell me if this is true? I am a lazy book blogger. A favourite 'new to me' author is easy, though. Laura Wood's books have absolutely blown me away this year. I picked up A Sky Painted Gold and Under A Dancing Star after Lucy the Reader raved about them on her YouTube channel. I love historical fiction and it's so hard to find in YA, but these... these were perfect. They were easy 5 star reads for me. Incredible story-telling, excellent dips into the past, sweet romances, ballsy female leads. Also, they are the most beautiful books I have ever seen in my life. If I were to design a cover, I would want them to look like these.
NOTE- while looking for cover photos, I noticed that in October of this year Laura is coming out with a new book called 'A Snowfall of Silver' and you better believe I am pre-ordering it right now. So this is officially my most anticipated book of the year as well. You go Glen Coco, Laura Wood has officially smashed THREE of my midyear freakout categories.
Re-Reads This Year
I love a good re-read. I wish people did it more often. That being said, some of my re-reads are haunting me because it's turning out that some of the books that I read in highschool are not nearly as good as I had remembered. That being said, here are some of the pages I got to flip through again this year!
Book That Made You Cry
I cry at literally everything in life, so it's always shocking to me that this category is so difficult. The fact of the matter is, it takes a really special book to get me to tear up. I like my art dark and disturbing, so I read a lot of messed up books and I think my heart has hardened a little because of it. As far as I can recall, the only book that has made me tear up is Beach Read by Emily Henry, which is one of the reasons that it was such a highly rated/raved about book from me. I was not expecting the tears and they were genuine and I didn't feel like they came out of a place of manipulation by the author. The only other one that got close to evoking emotion was Elie Wiesel's 'Night'. The treatment he went through was truly inhumane and it's an incredibly difficult memoir to read. I was so angry when I read it, but I feel it was very important.
Book That Made You Happy
Unlike the crying one, there are SO many books that made me happy this year. I love it when a book makes you smile and you just want to curl up with it and fold yourself between the pages until you get lost. The best books to do that with are romances. There's something about them... while I like my dark literature, I also really love a cheesy love plot. Also, anything by Becky Albertalli just makes me grin. Here are a few of my faves! Check out how cute and happy the covers even are!!
Goals For The Rest of The Year
I want to get to that goal of 100!
I want to read at least 10 more classics while I am on a roll.
I want to read at least 2 more books over the 700 page mark. I need to get these honkers off my TBR!!
I want to read more e-books.
I want to read more diversely in terms of authors (something we all need to work on).
I want to take better notes while I am reading.
I want to write at least 50,000 words this year.
Please let me know how you are doing!! This was a lot of fun and a great reminder of all the excellent stories I have already consumed in 2020. Bring on the second half of the year! Well, in terms of reading... I don't want to wish for anymore of the senselessness of the first half of the year!