Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag
1. Best Book You’ve Read in 2021: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
I don’t want to repeat any answers so I’m actually going to pick my second favorite book of the year so far. It’s a close second and was very important to me. The book follows the aftermath of a woman’s suicide attempt where she is transported to a library. Every book in that library is a portal to another version of her life. The novel has accurate mental health representation and its message is ultimately one of hope.
2. Best Sequel You’ve Read in 2021: Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
This is the seventh book (excluding short stories) of the Grishaverse and it brought together a lot of plot threads from previous books. It featured everything I love in fantasy: warfare, political maneuvering, unique magic, badass women, and heists. It was epic and glorious and the best Grishaverse book to date.
3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet but Want to: The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson
This book features the characters from the Truly Devious trilogy which is about a true crime aficionado (Stevie Bell) solving an infamous crime that took place at her remote boarding school. This standalone mystery takes the characters from the original trilogy and puts them in summer camp. The novel has anxiety representation which was so meaningful to me and is the series that got me into mystery. I was psyched when it was revealed there would be another novel in the universe.
4. Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year: Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko
I have so, so many but I’m really looking forward in particular to the sequel to Raybearer because it was my favorite YA fantasy of 2020. I loved the world but what really captured my heart were the characters and their dynamics with each other. The novel ended on quite the cliffhanger and I have no idea how Ifueko will address it in the sequel but I am counting down the days until the release.
5. Biggest Disappointment: Bone Crier's Dawn by Kathryn Purdie
This is the sequel to Bone Crier’s Moon. It’s a YA fantasy duology about women who ferry the souls of the dead. I feel like the author spat on the first novel’s characters and world building with this sequel. I was so pumped for it that I actually preordered it and I fully expected to give it a similar rating to the first one. It ended up being a 2-star read. I wish I hadn’t spent my money on it.
6. Biggest Surprise: Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera
This is a middle grade fantasy inspired by Latinx lore. Even though my favorite book of all time (The Giver by Lois Lowry) is middle grade I, for some inexplicable reason, have always felt like middle grade fantasy couldn’t be as good as YA. I was a bit of a fantasy snob, admittedly. This novel blew me away with the world and characters and story and became one of my favorite books of the year so far!
7. Favorite New Author: Charlotte Nicole Davis
I read her book The Good Luck Girls which is a western inspired YA fantasy and loved it. It features a group of badass girls who are on the run. They take revenge on the society that has hurt them and defend one another. The world was one like I’d never read before in a fantasy and the author made good use of the western themes. I look forward to reading what she writes next.
8. Newest Fictional Crush: Zoya Nazyalensky
I genuinely didn’t like Zoya in the original Shadow and Bone trilogy but in the King of Scars duology we learn a lot more about her past. Not only is she more sympathetic but we get to see her being both vulnerable and ultra powerful. This made her even more attractive. I like her as a partner for Nikolai as the two have great chemistry and are perfect partners.
9. Book that Made You Cry: Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar
This is a nonfiction about experienced Russian hikers who died under mysterious circumstances and one man's investigation into their deaths. The author (who actually traveled to the same mountain as the hikers) did such an amazing job of bringing these hikes who died half a century ago to life. I felt like I knew them and like they were my friends. When he described what he believes, based on his research, to be their final hours I started crying because even though I knew it was impossible I wanted things to be different. I wanted history to change and for them to have lived.
10. Book that Made You Happy: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune
My ultimate favorite book of the year, this is about a caseworker who goes to an orphanage full of magical children. The story follows the caseworker (Linus) slowly falling in love with the children and their island home and the reader falls right alongside him. The story is whimsical and wholesome and like being wrapped up in a warm hug. It’s the perfect pick me up if you’re feeling low.
11. Favorite Book to Film Adaptation: Shadow and Bone on Netflix
I haven’t actually seen any film adaptations this year which is why I picked a TV adaptation. This series was based on Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse books which are some of my favorite YA fantasy books. Everything about this series was a book lover's dream. The actors nailed their roles, the sets and costumes brought the world of Ravka to life, and the CGI was really solid. This show exceeded my expectations.
12. Favorite Review You've Written This Year: Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez
I chose this one because it's a review for a book that I loved every aspect of it from the way it expands the world from it's companion novel, its fast pace and adventure, and the character growth. This blog wasn't very popular which is another reason I wanted to highlight it as I want more people to be aware of and reading this book!
13. Most Beautiful Book You've Bought or Received this Year: King and the Dragonfiles by Kacen Callender
This book features the main character (King) on the cover and I have a preference/draw to books that feature characters on book covers. I also really like the blue-green color scheme they went with. The cover is what initially made me want to pick up this novel and I'm so glad I did as King's struggles with grief and his sexuality really resonated with me.
14. Books You Need to Read by the End of the Year
There are so many. To list a few: The Box in the Woods by Maureen Jonson, Broken Web by Lori M. Lee, Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim, Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko, Black Water Sister by Zen Cho, Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie, The Hawthrone Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Girls of Fate and Fury by Natasha Ngan, Survive the Night by Riley Sager, The Nobleman's Guide to Scandals and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee and so, so many more. We'd be here all day if I listed them all!
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