Thursday, 21 June 2018

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag 2018

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag is one of my favourite tags to do each year and I always look forward to June/July to do this! This is an original tag was created by Chami so all credit goes to her (readslikewildfire). Basically, the tag goes through the books you've read so far this year to see which are the best/worst/etc. I've read 55 books so far this year (at the time of writing this post), which I'm really happy with and I'm going to try not repeat myself too much with these so hopefully there'll be no books mentioned twice. I'm also going to try and not mention any books that are re-reads so that I can talk about some new books instead (rather than just Harry Potter)! If you want to see all the books I've read so far this year you can click hereHere we go:

1. Best book you've read so far in 2018

For now (not including the book I'm currently reading) it is easily Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty (and this was the fourth book I picked up in January!). This book is nearly 500 pages but it was so addicting that I read it in one day. Big Little Lies is about three australian mothers (Jane, Madeline and Celeste) who meet and become friends despite being from very different lives. This thriller follows each of their points of view in the months leading up to a murder, as well as including interview excerpts with the police from other parents. The most fascinating thing about this book was not knowing who was killed until the very end and all the other twists that still happened throughout the whole book. I literally could not put this book down and I'm already itching to re-read it. Would highly recommend to anyone, even if you don't think thrillers are for you. There is just so much intrigue in this book!

2. Best sequel you've read so far

This was a tough one as I've read so many series so far this year, but I think this one will have to go to The Battlemage by Taran Matharu. I read the first book in the series (The Novice) in 2014 and this year I decided to give it a re-read and then finally finish the trilogy. This is a YA fantasy that includes a magic school, elves, dwarves and familiar companions. These are all things that I adore in a fantasy so this book immediately pulled me in. You can find my spoiler-free review of the first book here! Although I say in that review that I wish I had read this when I was younger, I still think this is perfect for anyone who loves YA. The series gets darker and more complex with every single book. The characters are wonderful and this finale doesn't hold back like many YA fantasies do. I highly recommend this series! 

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to
There aren't too many books that have just been released that I'm super eager to read. However, I do want to get to the final book in the Illuminae Files trilogy: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I'm really looking forward to the twists in this book and to see what happens to all the characters we've met.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Either A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir or Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas. I only recently read Sabaa Tahir's other two books so I'm very excited to continue the series. I've also been reading the Throne of Glass series since Crown of Midnight was released so I'm looking forward to seeing how this series finally ends!

5. Biggest disappointment
Sadly, I've had a few disappointing reads this year, so I'm going to mention a couple. This isn't to say these books are bad, just that they really disappointed me and didn't live up to my expectations. Number one is Artemis by Andy Weir. I read The Martian by Andy Weir a few years ago and absolutely loved the dry sense of humour and setting of that book. However, this one just wasn't for me; the main character felt annoying and the 'heist' aspect of the plot just didn't interest me that much. The second book I have is The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton. I have a full spoiler-free review of this book here if you want to go read it, but generally I found this book to be far too slow-paced. I enjoyed so much of the characters and storyline, but felt like it could've been 200 pages shorter and accomplished the same thing. It usually only takes me a few days to read a book of this length but this one took me over two weeks and I really struggled to continue reading.

6. Biggest surprise

For this I'm going with Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I 100% did not think I would enjoy this book as much as I did. I don't often pick up YA contemporaries, but with everyone talking about the book this year I thought it was about time I read it. This book follows Simon, an in-the-closet teenager, who is being blackmailed by someone at his school. This book really had everything: it was funny, heart-wrenching, and had a mystery aspect that I didn't expect. I constantly wanted to keep picking up the book to find out what would happen next. I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking for a fun read (also the film is pretty good too!).

7. Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)
There are so, so many and I could mention some of the authors I've already talked about, but I think I'll say Sara Raasch. I found her Snow Like Ashes trilogy to be very compelling. This trilogy had so much that I love in a fantasy and it was so detailed. The wroldbuilding was beautiful and it's portrayal of PTSD was very realistic. I also found the conclusion to be so satisfying. Raasch is a beautiful writer.

8. Newest fictional crush

Meh, I don't usually get these to be honest! Genuinely can't think of any stand-out love interests in any of the books.

9. Newest favourite character

Probably Alabaster from The Fifth Season trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. He is such a believable and flawed character, and I love him for that. He's always sarcastic and interesting to read about. If you haven't picked up this trilogy then I highly recommend you do!

10. Book that made you cry

None yet this year! Although I think Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn came very close. This book is a non-fiction about an extraordinary array of women struggling under profoundly dire circumstances. But we also meet those who have triumphed and those who make it their work to provide hope and help to other women. Through these stories of women in impoverished and less fortunate countries, we can see how we can start to help others. It is so important to read for anyone interested in women's rights and feminism. It is a book that drops you into reality and really portrays the privilege that some of the world has compared to others.

11. Book that made you happy

I'm afraid I might actually have to mention a book I've already talked about here and say Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I felt like I had a grin on my face for the majority of my time reading this and no other book has done that to me this year.

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year
I know this will be an unpopular opinion because it's very different from the book but I'm going with Ready Player One. Despite the differences from the book, I really enjoyed this film. I found it action-packed and super enjoyable.

13. Favourite review you've written this year
Probably my review of The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. It's always great when a book impacts me so much that I just get the urge to write a review for it. It doesn't happen as often lately so talking about this book made me very happy! You can find my spoiler-free review here if you want to read it!

14. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. I just love this cover so much, and my edition has flaps on the inside covers with even prettier maps on them!

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

SO MANY BOOKS. I have a very large TBR Pile. I think I'll limit this list to the top five books I want to read this year:
1. The Stand by Stephen King
2. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
3. The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken
4. Under the Dome by Stephen King
5. The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

Hope you enjoyed this tag! Let me know if you've done this tag and if you've read any of these books, what you thought of them! :)