The Mid-Year Book Tag

I found this book tag on Nicholas Poe’s blog, and it appears it came from a BookTube video that he came across at some point. We’ve officially hit the half-way mark of the year (and what a year it has been!), so I figured I’d start up with some book tags again! (I ran out back in May, I think, and I just haven’t sat down and written any more.

I also figure out while looking at my GoodReads that it’s been so long since I read some of the books at the beginning of the year that I assumed I read them last year. As previously mentioned, I read 60 books in the first twoish months of the year, and then I’ve been slow to read anything else since then.

1. Best book you’ve read so far this year.

If you’d asked me earlier, it would have been one of Zeyn Joukhadar’s books, but I just finished Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and it has absolutely jumped to the top of my list for the year. It had everything I wanted in it and was exactly what I needed.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far this year.

It has to be Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I finished Six of Crows and immediately sprang to my bookshelf to pick up the sequel. While there’s no real “happy ending” (because how can there be, in that setting?), there’s at least a resolution.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

Sorrowland. It’s from the Fantastic Strangelings book club and it’s sitting on my shelf (and has been for over a month now!), and I haven’t been able to get to it yet. I had a bunch of library holds come in at once and I needed to get through those first!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I think I’m still waiting on The Last Graduate by Naomi Novak. I pre-ordered it a long time ago (literally the moment it was announced) and I don’t think it’s released yet. (I just checked – it releases in September. I could have sworn when I pre-ordered it, the original release date was July 2021. Oh well, just something else to look forward to!)

5. Biggest disappointment.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. I had such high hopes for this book, and ended up getting something that I just didn’t care about. I did care about the actual “lost apothecaress,” but I could not have cared less about the “modern day” woman that was “discovering” her. Also, it’s London. How on earth does a hidden room stay hidden for 500 years?

6. Biggest surprise.

I was surprised by how truly terrible Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline was. He capitalized hard on his RP1 success, but man, does RP2 not capture any of it. Wade Watts has turned out to be an incredible jerk, swayed only by money and success, and he needed to be put in jail for several of the crimes that he freely admits to throughout the book. I knew that RP1 was probably a one-hit wonder and I knew how misogynistic it was, but it was absolutely shocking how much worse the sequel was. Full review up in a few weeks!

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Zeyn Joukhadar is new to me, and they are the author of The Map of Salt and Stars and The Thirty Names of Night, both of which I read early on in 2021 and both of which have stuck to me through the rest of the year.

8. Newest fictional crush.

Honestly, I don’t think I can name a single fictional crush that I currently have. Maybe it’s because I’ve outgrown YA and most of the people in the “adult fiction” books that I read are actually terrible people?

9. Newest favorite character.

Ryland Grace from Project Hail Mary. He’s super resourceful and even though he’s not a space-scientist (he’s a middle school science teacher!), he’s still able to get things done and save himself and maybe the rest of humanity.

10. Book that made you cry.

Honestly, so far this year there hasn’t been a book that made me cry. I’m expecting that there probably will be one by the end of the year, but so far, we’re good!

11. Book that made you happy.

Encyclopedia Exotica. I read it on Instagram (just like I did with Woman World) and as soon as the collection was announced I pre-ordered it. It’s just a beautiful little book that deserves more praise than it’s currently getting. (Also, they’re starting a new comic series about burning witches and I already can’t wait for it to be released in graphic novel form!)

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I think The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec is one of the prettiest books that I’ve bought this year (thanks to the Fantastic Strangelings, of course!).

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

There’s so many – I can’t even name them all. I have at least two Fantastic Strangelings books sitting on my bookshelf that I need to catch up on, and I bought like five books during the San Antonio Book Festival and I only read one of them (a short story collection that was really disappointing). I want to at least read all of the physical books that I’ve bought this year – the Kindle ones can just kind of chill until I get my bookshelves under control!

And there we have it! I’m sure I’ll do a “second half of the year” book tag before doing a final year-long wrap-up one sometime in December, and I’ll have to remember that anything before Project Hail Mary can’t be included in the second half one!

And as always, keep reading.

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