Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

Hello!

I’m going to share with you some of my thoughts on the books I’ve read so far this year because it’s already the end of June which makes it half way through the year — which honestly is freaking me out a little.

This tag was originally created back in 2016 by booktubers Chami of IsThatChami and Ely of Earl Grey Books.

I’ve read a total of 68 books so far this year so lets see which ones make it on the list!

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Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

 

Oh my god this is a such a hard question! I have read a total of 14 five star reads this year. I loved each book and they are so different from each other but if I have to pick one I’d say …

..

.

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Marriage for One by Ella Maise and Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones. Okay so I cheated but really I could’ve listed all 14! And these books are so different for each other and I can’t choose!

 

 

Marriage for One just might be my favourite romance book. I just adored everything about this and I’m dying to re-read it. Rose had a deal with her uncle that she could rent of his is Manhattan commercial properties so she can finally open up her own cafe. However, the deal goes south when her uncle passed. While he has included the deal in his will, she’s only allowed to rent the property if she is married and she was just dumped by her fiancé only weeks before. Enter Jack, one of the lawyer who’s working on her uncle’s estate. He offered to marry her so she can open the cafe and in turn he own the priority. This was the best slow burn romance. Jack is the perfect grumpy hero, who’s a complete marshmallow for Rose. I love that he helps her set up the cafe and when it’s open he comes in every day for his morning coffee.

 

Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my all time favoutie Studio Ghibli. When I found out that it was based on a book I was excited but terrified that the book wasn’t going to be as good as the film. After putting on this book forever, I final picked it up for Middle Grade March and I loved it. The Ghibli adaptation is fantastic because the book helps to include background details of Sophie and her sister and also provide more detail about the current war. The story follows Sophie, who has the greatest misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. When she’s cursed by the Witch of the Waste, Sophie is turned into an old lady. Her only chance of breaking the spell is to find the ever moving castle int he hill and the heartless wizard, Howl.  There are also more books in this series which I cannot wait to pick up.

 

 

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?

 

I have read a ton of sequels this year — unfortunately I have started a hell of a lot of series too 😂😂😂 — and while I have read a lot of series there has only been four that I have given 5 stars to; Fire Queen by Joanna Courtney, Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan, Alpha Night by Nalini Singh and The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black.

 

 

Joanna Courtney is one of all my time favourite historical fiction writers and I am loving her Shakespeare’s Queen series. Fire Queen unearths the history and reality of Ophelia and Denmark’s doomed Prince Hamlet. Ofelia watched her mother throw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. She hardens her heart, vowing that she will never belong to a man. She throws herself into training and become one of Denmark’s valued warrior and Hamlet’s constable. I love the exploration of who the real people were behind the famous play. Courtney does a wonderful job of bringing the Dark Ages to life. I also love her exploration of religion as the Pagan Danes are introduced to Christianity.

||Fire Queen Review||

 

Ruthless Gods was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, which is no surprise as Wicked Saints was one of my top reads of 2019. I love this gothic and grim world full of divine magic and blood magic. Thankful this pick up right where the first book left off and we got to see how the aftermath affected our cast of characters. I adore Nadya and Malachiasz’s relationship — one moment they want to kill each other and the next they can’t help but save the other. Serefin might just be my favourite character, I just love him. We also got to see more of the world and understand more of the politics surrounding the religious war. I cannot wait for Blessed Monsters!

 

 

Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series will always be on of my all time favouties. I love the magic system and the overall story arc. It’s amazing how each couple’s individual story helps to push along the overall story arc. In Alpha Night, we follow BlackEdge’s Alpha wolf, Selenka Durev as she mates at first sight with dangerous Arrow, Ethan Night. I love that we got to see a female alpha and honestly she was bad ass and fiercely protective of her pack. I wouldn’t want to mess with her. I love getting a look into the den homes as we get to see the family dynamic of the pack which just makes my heart happy. The way Singh was able to explore the whole insta-love type trope was all kinds of wonderful.  Also I adored that we were back in Russia and got to see more of Valentin’s bears because bears!

 

Honestly I cannot believe I waited so long to pick up The Queen of Nothing especially after how much Wicked King destroyed my very being. But I will say that it is feel worth the wait. I adore Elfhame! Holly Black’s has created this dark, lush world of the fairies which fit with the folklore. These beings are cruel, even if they aren’t from the unseelie court, but they are also have these weird quirks and rules like they cannot lie. Jude, while not being the most likeable of characters, is fascinating to follow. She is crazy smart and loyal to a fault. Honestly, if I was in her shoes I would be a mess. I won’t say too much on the plot because it will spoil everything. if you haven’t picked up this series you need to!

 

 

 

New release you haven’t read yet but want to?

I’ve been so far behind in my reading this year that I am just going to insert pictures of all the new releases I need to read.

 

 

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

2020 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for releases and it was hard to choose just one! So the books I’m the most excited about getting to are Well Played by Jen DeLuca, Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco, Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer and Hollowpox: The Hunt of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.

 

 

I read Well Met earlier this year and was completed charmed by this small town and their Renaissance Faire. We meet our leading lady, Stacey is the first book. She is a fellow tavern wench and who helps Emily to learn the ropes. She was such a sweetheart and I’m excited for her to find her love. We have seen that she has been messaging someone and I’m exciting to see the pair meet for the first time! I also really hope that this book is large set at the faire.

 

I adore Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series and am excited to read this series from her. I don’t know a ton about this series expect that we follow twin sisters, Emilia and Vittoria. The pair are witches who are living in secrete among humans to avoid persecution. However, Vittroia soon goes missing and Emilia finds her body desecrated beyond belief. Emilia vows to find her sister killer and in doing so enlist the help of Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell. Really I don’t need to know much more. We have witches and murder and princes of Hell and it sounds amazing. I have all my fingers and toes crossed that this has a historical setting rather then a modern day one because Maniscalco’s is amazing at bring historical settings to life,

 

 

When I found out that Midnight Sun was going to be released this year, my inner 14-year-old self just about cried. We have been waiting for this book for over 10 years! This books is Twilight but told for Edward’s perspective and I cannot wait. I will be pre-order this. I think I was also re-read Twilight and also read Life and Death along side this book to get my full Twilight fix.

 

The next book in the Morrigan Crow series is finally coming out and I’m so excited. Hollowpox: The Hunt of Morrigan Crow is the third book in this series. I cannot wait to be back in Nevermoor at the Wounderous Society with Morrigan, Hawthorne, Jupiter North, Fenestra and the all crew at the hotel. In this book Morrigan needed to master the mysterious Wretched Arts of the Accomplished Wundersmith, and control the power that threatens to consume her. I think I will re-read the first two books before picking this one up.

 

 

Biggest disappointment?

The School for Good and Evil

I haven’t head many disappoint reads. I will say that I was a little sad that I didn’t love The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chaiani. I love the premise of this book. We have two school where people go to learn all about being fairy tale villains or fairy tale heroes. The class lists where so creative and funny.

I guess my problem with this book was the age of the characters, I think were around 12 to 13 however Sophie obsession with boys and dating at times felt a little more mature then pre-teen.

I do have the rest of the series and am planning on finishing it.

 

 

 

 

Biggest surprise?

 

Foul is Fair

 

My biggest surprise would have to be Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin. I tend not to read contemporary novels unless they have a heavy romance story line so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. But this book was dark gritty, all about revenge and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the heavy topic of rape culture. I adored the elements of the Macbeth retelling.

This was a fun, stabby, feminist thriller and I was happy to go along for the ride and see these privilege boys get what they deserved.

 

||Foul is Fair Review||

 

 

 

 

Favourite new author (either debut or new to you)?

So far, I have read quite a few new to me authors. I would say 70 to 80% of the authors I’ve read are one’s I’ve never read anything from. But some of the authors who I have fallen in love with are:

 

  • Katee Roberts — she has become my go to for smutty romances. I have currently read 4 of her books and I cannot wait to get to more especially her Wicked Villains series
  • Jen DeLuca — Well Met is one of the sweetest rom-com’s I’ve read this year and I adored the Renaissance Faire setting. This was a stunning debut and I cannot wait for the sequel Well Played to be released later this year
  • Ella Maise — No surprise with this one since she has written one of my all time favourite read of this year, Marriage for One. She’s able to write complex characters and the perfect slow burn romances. I’m excited to read more of her worl
  • S. Young — I love love loved everything about War of Hearts — the mythology, the European setting and the romance. I cannot wait to pick up the sequel, Kiss of Vengeance. While she hasn’t written much under this name, I can dive into her work under Samantha Young.
  • Catherynne M. Valente — The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making was one of the most magical and utterly enchanting middle grade books I’ve read this year. I adore her lyrical writing style and I cannot wait to dive into her back catalogue.

 

 

Newest fictional crush?

 

I have read a lot of romance this year, in fact it’s been my go to genre for this year (currently I have read 36 romance and 14 paranormal). So it’s so hard to pick just one newest crush.

 

 

Camden Harris from Challenge. Camden is a cocky soccer player who’s is totally charming and he knows it. Also bonus points from being British.

Jack from Marriage for One. I love a grumpy hero and Jack is peak grumpy hero! He acts like he’s a big tough lawyer who’s only in this agreement for some real estate but he spends his nights helping Rose set up her cafe and when it’s open he goes in and buys coffee.

Theo Fitzcharles and Galen Mikos from The Thalanian Dynasty series. I’m picking them both because honestly how can you pick just one! They are dreamy and will do anything for Meg and each other.

 

Newest favourite character?

Some of my new favourite characters I’ve met this year are as follows:

  • September from The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making
  • Evie Greenlees and Arie Johnson from The Lost Love Song
  • Louise le Blanc from Serpent & Dove 
  • Elizabeth Shore from Mistress to the Crown
  • Selenka Durev from Alpha Night

At this stage I feel like I will be repeating myself when in comes to books buuut *shrugs* I’m nothing if not predictable

 

 

Book that made you cry?

The Arsonist

The only book to make me cry so far this year was The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper. I picked this up right at the start of the year during the bushfires that have flared up across New South Wales and Victoria over the last months, I thought this might provided some insights. In hindesight probably not the best time to read this book.

This book focuses on the investigation around the he Churchill fires. These fires were just two of around 400 fires that started on 7 February 2009 or Black Saturday. Black Saturday is one of the worst natural disasters Australia has faced. At the time I was living in Yarra Valley were a lot of the fires were burning. It was terrifying. This book was harrowing and hard to read at times. Especially the parts the documented the numerous stories of those who managed to escape the inferno and a number more of those who were unable to. Overall, I think it’s an important read to realise that once the bushfires are put out and the media has moved on the next news item that the towns who have been affected are still reeling with the disaster.

 

 

Book that made you happy?

Alpha Night

 

 

Honestly I couldn’t not pick this book. This world make me so happy. It’s like putting on a cosy jumper or your favourite pair of slippers. Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series is my all time favourite series.

Alpha Night is a perfect addition to the series. I love that we finally have a female alpha! And Ethan Night is all kinds of adorable.

 

 

 

 

Most beautiful book you’ve brought so far?

The most beautiful book I have brought this year has to be Owl Crate’s Exclusive edition of Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan. I mean look at it! It’s so pretty and there is fan art on the underside of the dust jacket.

 

 

 

 

What book do you need to read by the end of the year?

There are quite a few I need to get to by the end of the year, especially if I want to finish both my reading challenges. I’ll include some pictures of the books I need to finish.

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That’s all for me today. Comment down below to let me know if you’ve read any of these books or what your favourite read of 2020 is so far.

Until next time, happy reading,

Dearna

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