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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

Updated: Jul 16, 2021



It's the time of year when Youtube is flooded with booktubers posting their 'Mid Year Book Freakout Tag', and as I now have a blog, I decided to jump in on the fun.


Looking back on how much you've read in the last five and a half months is a strange experience. Because I was participating in a reading challenge on Goodreads, I had a way above average for February through April. After I finished the challenge though, I did slow down quite a bit in order to make way for my blog and because of some minor health reasons.


Due to those three months though, I have skyrocketed towards my Goodreads reading goal. Last year I set my reading goal as rather low since that was when I really started to get into reading, but then I ended up increasing it to 70 as I was flying through books. I ended up reading 154 books which is way more than I would have expected...until we get to now.



For 2021 I set my reading goal to 120 books and I currently have read 304. Now, don't be fooled, that number is not as big as you think it is. I have read a large number of short stories, graphic novels, webcomics, and manga this year. So, the actual amount of full-length novels I read is a lot smaller. I have so far read a total of 97 books this year. That's a lot of books right there...a lot.


Enough about my reading goals, let's move on to the questions!


 

BEST BOOK READ SO FAR IN 2021


I am someone who has a really hard time giving a book anything over a 4.5 rating because it feels like a commitment to give something 5 stars. I have a much easier time giving webcomics and manga a high rating because I feel like my connection is them is stronger. After all, you can see physically the characters.


To make things easier for me (and to cheat a bit), I am going to pick the best book, webcomic, and manga I have read.



The best book I have read, even though I have read a good amount that I have loved, is going to have to be The House on the Cerulean Sea. I just felt so emotional while reading this and by the end, I got why so many people loved this book.





The best webcomic I read so far this year was Love Advice from the Great Duke of Hell. This wasn't even on my TBR but I decided to pick it up for a reading prompt and I did not regret it at all. I'm not a person who gravitates towards comedy, but the deadpan humour that was used in this was hilarious. It's not complete yet and has only 2 seasons out so far, but I will happily wait for it to come back. I will always recommend this because it is free to read online, so there's really nothing to lose.


Finally, as for my favourite manga this year so far, it is without a doubt Demon Slayer Vol.19. I can't say much about this considering that this volume is rather deep into the series, but I have never felt so anxious before while reading something. I was very visibly distressed while reading this because of how much intense it was.





BEST SEQUEL READ IN 2021



I have been a good amount of series this year as the vast majority of fantasy books are series. I am unsure though as what qualifies as a sequel is just the 2nd book or anything past the 1st. Any manga I have read can easily work for this question and something like A Court of Silver Flames would work as well, but instead, I am going to go with The Deck of Omens.


This is the 2nd and final book in The Devouring Gray duology, and I don't really hear many people talk about this series. I picked up the first book randomly one day and it has been on my TBR for a decently long time. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, and the sequel was equally as good as well.



A NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN'T READ YET BUT WANT TO



As you know, every month I put out a list of all the upcoming books that are on my radar. I have also recently been reading a ton of ARCs thanks to NetGalley, so I am happy to say that I have been reading a lot of new releases this year. To narrow things down a bit, there is a book that I am very eager to read but haven't picked up yet, and that would be In Deeper Waters. One word - pirates.


I have said before that pirates were one of my most favourite tropes in books and I have a hard time finding good ones to read mainly because they are all romances and I would prefer a fantasy. Needless to say, when I saw that this book was a thing, I knew I had to pick it up. It came out at the end of April and I wanted to read it that month, but then I got really busy with the blog and ARCs so I have to push it off for now.



MOST ANTICIPATED UPCOMING RELEASE


Again, I keep track of all the books that are coming out for the year. For this one, I am going to give you two books because I have no self-control and can't pick just one.


First, we have Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson who is one of my automatic read authors. She stole my heart with A Sorcery of Thorns and I am really hoping that she does it again with this release coming out on September 28th.



And secondly, we of course have Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune. I said above that The House in the Cerulean Sea was my favourite book so far that I read this year, and I am expecting another smash hit with this new release coming out on September 21st.



BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT


Again, I am also going to give you two books for this question as they were different reasons as to why they were disappointing to me.



The first book we have is The Blade Itself, the first book in the First Law Trilogy. Now don't get me wrong, this wasn't a bad book, but it also wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be. A lot of people consider this to be a quintessential read for fantasy, so I had high expectations going into this. That is why it was disappointing for me that it didn't live up to those expectations even though it was an overall okay book.



And here we have the worst book I have read so far this year. First Grave on the Right is the first installment in the Charley Davidson series. I didn't really have any expectations going into this so I wasn't necessarily disappointed in that way, but what did disappoint me was the sheer number of people who enjoyed this.


Not to bash anyone for liking it, you like what you like, but I could not get past the fact that this book romanticized sexual assault. You simply can't move forward after that and that is why it has been solidified as the worst book I have read.



MOST SURPRISING



This one is pretty easy to answer and that would be Crown of Bones. This was the start of a brand new YA fantasy series that came out on January 5th. I wasn't really expecting much considering that not only was this the start of a new series, but it was also the author's debut book. I ended up reading it a the start of February and when I finished it I sat back and thought a bit and was like, you know what, I really, really liked the book.


Needless to say, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel which is coming out next year and I have high hopes for the author as well.



FAVOURITE NEW AUTHOR


Hmm, I don't really have an answer for this one as I tend to not read an author's full catalogue. A lot of authors as well I have only read either a single book or series from them. In order to not repeat answers, and because I kind of don't have one, I am going to name an author whose writing I found to be immaculate.



I received an ARC of Stronghold by Kesha Bakunin and was a bit skeptical because other reviews said that it was hard to get into. That wasn't the case for me at all as I was blown away by how well-written this book was, especially considering the fact that he has to rewrite the entire book into English from his first language.


This book was very much so a commentary on religion and government in his home country in the form of a fantasy chronicle, but the way the story was told was just fantastic. Can I say that he is my favourite author, no, and will we ever get any other works by him, probably not, but I commend him for this book.



NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH



It would be really easy to list pretty much every character from the mangas I am reading. It's also just a lot easier to like characters from manga because you can actually see them while when you read a book, it all comes down to your imagination.


I am planning on doing a post in the future talking about my favourite characters so, as to not repeat any answers, I will say in that, I am going to go with Gojo from Jujutsu Kaisen. When you get to know me, my taste in manga/anime characters is very obvious, and characters who cover their eyes and are extremely overpowered fits the bill.



NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER


Credit to MATArt


You know how I just said that I don't want to repeat answers from an upcoming post about the same topic...yeah...I'm gonna have to break that already.


We are going with my man Sand dan Glokta from The Blade Itself, who was arguably the best thing to come out of that book for me. Is he a good guy, no, but did he has some of the best characterization ever, hell yes? He was just so bitter and quick to snipe back at everyone internally.



A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY



I don't have a new answer for this as the books that made me the most emotional were The House in the Cerulean Sea and Demon Slayer, which were my answers for the first question.



A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY



I read a lot of fantasy and I wouldn't necessarily say that they can be considered 'happy' books but do I feel happy while reading them, why yes I do (unless I don't like the book). The most recent book that I would say made me happy was Clean Sweep. It was my second time reading it and it speaks to me because this involves a magical inn. I am a huge sucker for that kind of trope.



MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK BOUGHT OR RECEIVED



As you may know, I am someone who doesn't buy physical books as I either read the ebook or listen to the audiobook. So instead I am going to talk about a book with the most beautiful cover that I have read this year. What a pretty cover The Lost Apothecary has. I may not have liked what was on the inside too much, but at least what was on the outside was nice.



BOOKS YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR


Aside from all the upcoming new releases that I want to read, I do have a list of 21 books that I need to read in 2021. I have so far read 10 of them and have a good amount left to read. My list consists mostly of what I consider to be 'must reads' for fantasy such as The Eye of the World and The Last Wish. I also want to delve into Brandon Sanderson but boy are his books ever long too.

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