Welcome to a literary latte!
When it comes to the end of June/middle of July, The Mid Year Freakout Tag consumes my WordPress reader and honestly? I’m not mad about it because it’s my favourite type of post to read! I love seeing everyone getting excited about the books they’ve read and loved this year, and so this year… I thought I’d actually do the tag myself!
This year I am absolutely smashing the GoodReads challenge which makes me so happy! Not just because I’m overachieving (but also that) but because it demonstrates how much I’m loving reading at the moment. I tend to go through phases of either not reading/blogging or being obsessed with both and right now I’m in the latter phase which is the best.
I’m flying through my tbr right now.
My average rating is also 3.06 which is pretty good. The first half of the year started off with a lot of 2.5/3 star reads which has brought the average down, but this latter half has been incredible and I’ve had so many 4/5 star reads!
01 Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2021?
I have two new books for this one because I couldn’t pick between them and they are Malibu Rising and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Even though I’d heard so much about Taylor Jenkins Reid, I went into The Seven Husbands with zero expectations and was so so pleasantly surprised. It was absolutely incredible and definitely one of my all-time favourite reads. It’s filled with the most amazing cast of iconic characters in 1960s Hollywood, and the writing was just so atmospheric and immersive – I can’t recommend this enough.
And then, Malibu Rising follows the family of Mick Rivas, one of the 7 husbands. The Riva siblings honestly have the most beautiful dynamic and my heart absolutely broke for them so many times. The story alternates between the siblings in the 1980s and their mother/father in the 60s, and I adored both perspectives. Again such atmospheric writing and each and every character just felt so real and complex.
02 Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2021?
A few days ago I binge read the first three volumes of the Heartstopper graphic novels by Alice Oseman and they were so much better than I could have anticipated! I’d never tried a graphic novel before but I had seen this series mentioned so often that I couldn’t not try them.
Nick and Charlie just had the cutest relationship and I think it captured the British secondary school experience so well too.
I can’t wait to get to volume 4 honestly because this was just adorable and I flew through them in a couple hours.
03 New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To
Even though I’ve only read one book from Rachel Lynn Solomon (The Ex Talk), I can already tell that she’ll be an auto-buy author for me and We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This is no exception! I bought this as well as Today, Tonight, Tomorrow a few days ago and I’m so excited to pick up both of them. This one also features cover art from one of my favourite artists, Caitlin Blunnie (Liberal Jane on Instagram), which was how I initially found out about it. It sounds super cute and I can’t wait!
04 Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year
If you read the review I wrote for These Violent Delights (the first ever on my blog – meaning the book was amazing) then you’ll know I am SO EXCITED to get to Our Violent Ends, which releases in November! You can read my full review but it was such a beautiful read with stunning writing, a fast-paced plot as well as a lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers-to-enemies romance.
I’m so looking forward to reading the sequel!! I need more Benedikt and Marshall right about now.
Honourable mentions also go to:
- When Night Breaks (the sequel to Where Dreams Descend in the Kingdom of Cards series, which was a 4.5 star read for me that I flew through last year) by Janella Angeles.
- Like a Love Song by Nina Moreno (fake dating celebrities – sign me right up)
- Battle Royal by Lucy Parker (baking competition for royalty, rival (businesses) to lovers YES)
- Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno (ex-childhood friends and a bucket list!)
05 Biggest disappointment?
The Shadow & Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo was definitely my biggest disappointment of the year because I kind of hated it? A lot of people told me that the trilogy wasn’t as good as Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom (my all time favourite books) so my expectations were already kind of low, but this just wasn’t for me. I didn’t care about the characters (even the Darkling who, for a while, was Bookstagram’s favourite villain), the plot wasn’t that interesting and I ended up just getting a little confused. Book 1 I did actually give 3.5 stars but book 2 was a 2.5 star read and I didn’t even get to book 3 because I DNF’d.
06 Biggest surprise?
Easily The House on the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune. When I picked this up I had seen a few people mention it in various book lists but I had absolutely no idea what it was about and chose it on a whim one day when browsing Amazon. Thankfully, that whim paid off because it was so so good!!
Such a beautiful found family, atmospheric writing, impeccable world building and the sweetest slow burn romance. Can 100% see myself picking this up again in the future because I adored it.
06 Favourite new author (debut or new to you?)
Honourable mention goes to Taylor Jenkins Reid who might be my new favourite author (see above), and also Rachel Lynn Solomon who I can’t wait to read more from.
But for this prompt I’m going to go with an author I haven’t mentioned and that’s Sarah Suk.
I read Sarah’s debut Made in Korea earlier in June and flew through it. It was such a sweet book but I loved the complexity to the characters, which isn’t always seen in such a light-hearted contemporary. It also features the rival businesses to lovers trope which is one of my all time faves. This was such a sweet read and I can for sure see myself rereading this one. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more from the author (her next release is a co-authored book coming 2022).
06 Newest Favourite Character
Honourable mentions again can go to Nina Rivas (Malibu Rising), Evelyn Hugo, (The Seven Husbands of…) and all the children from the House on the Cerulean Sea, but another new fave character (who technically isn’t a new fave) is Maverick Carter in Concrete Rose.
The Carter family dynamic is what constantly draws me back to one of my favourite books, The Hate U Give, and so it was so amazing to read more from these characters in the prequel. Seeing young Lisa and Maverick grow together (and almost not together) was amazing and I just love how Angie Thomas manages to weave harder-hitting topics into her novels whilst also creating such a heartwarming read. 10/10 recommend!
08 Book that made you happy?
Question 07 was a book that made you cry and because I haven’t cried yet this year (about a book), I skipped that prompt! Next up though is a book that made you happy and for me that’s Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan. I’d seen the romance in this one hyped up a lot over on book tok and so my expectations were high – thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. Karina and Ace had the sweetest relationship and I just loved how they grew together and encouraged each other to face their challenges and fears. The portrayal of Karina’s anxiety, for me, felt so realistic too – mental health conservations need to be normalised and I think representation in books is an amazing way to do so. I’ve also tried the counting down method myself and it has helped me a little bit so there’s that!
This is just another one that I can see myself rereading, especially as it features two of my fave romance tropes – tutoring the ‘bad boy’ and fake dating (just want them to happen IRL now please & thank you).
09 Favourite book to movie adaptation?
As someone who is not a film person, I’ve only seen one adaptation this year and that’s the third instalment of the To All The Boys trilogy – ‘Always and Forever‘ over on Netflix. Whilst film 1 remains one of my all time favourites, they seemed to deteriorate after that and the final film wasn’t my favourite unfortunately.
10 Favourite review?
I’ve only actually written one review this year (hopefully there will be more to come though!) and that’s this one of These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – a 5 star favourite of the year.
11 What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?
Besides from the new releases mentioned above, a few books on my tbr for the second half of the year are:
- Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (this is the last book from this author that I keep seeing hyped everywhere so I need to add this to the list! It’s not centred with the same cast of characters though unfortunately).
- Loveless by Alice Oseman (has been hyped and features theatre nerds so yes please. Also asexual rep which I’ve not read in a book before!)
- Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (demons and demon hunters hello)
- To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (only just added this one today but it sounds amazing – siren princess turned human + human prince who hates and hunts sirens. Sold.)
I really hope that you enjoyed reading through this post and maybe found some new recommendations because I definitely recommend the favourites I mentioned! Especially The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Malibu Rising which were absolutely incredible and I will continue to shout about forever.