Mid-Year Freak Out Tag – 2020 Edition

Oh my gosh. June is over. Summer vacation is halfway over. I don’t know whether to shout for joy or cry. Shout for joy because PLEASE can we go back to school in August. Cry because summer is over and I’m still waiting on pretty much all the books from my summer reading list to come either to the book store or library. I’m worried I won’t have time to read them all. πŸ˜₯

Also, the middle of the year always sneaks up on me. During summer vacation it’s really hard to keep track of the date, so I’m always shocked and, well, freaked out to find it’s July. lol

So far this year I’ve read 45 books, but since a HUGE chunk of those were either gifts or read for work, it hasn’t been the most exciting year for me book-wise. Not even all the books in my Top 10 have four stars, yikes! Still, I’m well on my way to my 75 book goal, and frankly may have to adjust it to 100. YAY ME!

Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2020

Okay, I’m going to share my two favorites, because they’re so different from each other. My top book is hands down The Mirror & the Light, which is easily the best historical fiction novel I’ve ever read. I love the Thomas Cromwell trilogy so much, and this book was literally perfect. I wouldn’t have changed ANYTHING about it (except maybe make it never end!). My second top book is a YA backlist title, A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. It had been on my to-read list forEVER, and I finally picked it up on sale in February. GUYS. Why did I wait so long to read this book?!?! If you haven’t read it yet you’ve GOT TO.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2020

More like the only sequel I’ve read so far… But since it was my top pick of the year so far is it really any surprise The Mirror & the Light is my favorite sequel too?

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

YOU GUYS. Did you know Naomi Novik has another book coming out?!?! I literally *just* found out about a week ago, and I am TOTALLY FREAKING OUT!!! Naomi Novik can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned, and I would read her shopping list if they published it. Even more exciting, A Deadly Education is the beginning of a series! YAY!!!! I’m a little nervous I won’t like it as much as her other books because it sounds pretty dark, which isn’t usually my thing. But like I said, I’m here for anything she writes.

I also threw The Empire of Gold up there because here in the US we don’t get this book til Tuesday. I AM DYING. I NEED IT NOOOOOOWWWWWW!

Biggest Disappointment

I was super bummed with Slay. Mostly this was my own fault because I went in expecting it to be kind of a Sci-Fi/Adventure, and it’s really more of a contemporary novel. Very little action. But partly I felt that Morris didn’t find quite the right balance between plot/character development and racial dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book, just not as much as I was expecting to. :/

Biggest Surprise


This is a book I didn’t even know existed before I started as a librarian in January. Then when I saw this series I figured it was probably a bit dull. I mean, a black-and-white graphic novel series about American wars? Snooze. But the reality was that this book was hilarious, and educational, and exciting, and amazing in every way. I LOVED it.

Favorite New Author (or new to you)

I am definitely keeping Hena Khan, author of Amina’s Voice, on my radar. Amina’s Voice was not just some of the best middle-grade fiction I’ve ever read, but the best fiction PERIOD. Her writing is both lovely and realistic, and her characters utterly believable and lovable.

Newest Fictional Crush

I don’t do fictional crushes. Sorry folks!

Newest Favorite Character

I am completely OBSESSED with Gideon! She was such a fun point-of-view to read, and I couldn’t get enough of her sass. I didn’t care that much about the plot or world-building of Gideon the Ninth, I just loved Gideon. So much so that I … made an Animal Crossing outfit based on this cover…

Book that Made You Cry

Aw man, I just LOST IT reading Amina’s Voice. In parts because it was sad, but in other parts because it was so beautiful and full of hope for a better future. I mean, it’s no secret that the genre most likely to make me cry is Kids Lit, but seriously this book made me WEEP.

Book that Made You Happy

I had an absolute blast back in January reading Book Love by Debbie Tung. It’s a series of short-form comics about bookish people. The illustrations are so cute, and the content made me feel so seen. This was a perfect feel-good book for a book-lover.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

Have I seen any movies this year???

OH! I watched P.S. I Still Love You on Netflix! It was just as sweet as To All the Boys, but in this case wasn’t quite as good as the book. Still really enjoyed watching it. πŸ™‚

Favorite Post You’ve Done This Year

I had a great time writing The Levels of Genre Snobbery. It was a chance for me to mix a bit of being silly with actually having something to say about the bookish community. And I enjoyed talking to everyone in the comments (so many comments!) about their own feelings about different genres and genre snobs. Re-reading the post still makes me smile. πŸ™‚

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

I *think* I bought The Sun is Also a Star in February, but it might have been at Christmas, so sorry if I’m cheating. Anyway, this book is beautiful both inside and out. I mentioned this a few weeks ago as being one of my all-time favorite YA books. It perfectly blends romance and serious themes. I cried repeatedly reading this book last year. And I love the cover too. The colors are *so* pretty, and I like the concept behind how it was crafted too. I could look at the cover all day!

New Release You Haven’t Read but Want To

Okay, y’all, I ordered We Ride Upon Sticks from the bookstore AT LEAST three weeks ago, and it’s still on backorder! WHEN IS IT GOING TO GET HERE?!?! This super quirky book follows a high school women’s lacrosse team who attempts to end their loosing streak with some witchcraft. And its set in the 80s. Wins all around, am I right?

Book You Need to Read by the End of the Year

The Fifth Season has been on my radar for years because, well, obviously. But I’ve been nervous to read it both because I hear the format is very different, and because I didn’t enjoy my first N.K Jemison book. But since I’m reading all the other long highly-recommended modern classics off my list, and since the plot of the book sounds SOOOO INTERESTING, I figured I’d better go ahead and give this one a go. So I ordered it. People either love or hate this book, so here’s to hoping I’m one of the people who loves it!

I’m tagging no one, partly because I wasn’t tagged, and partly because it’s late and I don’t feel like it. Have a good week and a great rest of 2020. Well… as great as possible.

20 thoughts on “Mid-Year Freak Out Tag – 2020 Edition

  1. Gideon is amazing!! I love her so much. I can’t wait for book 2 to come out! And Amina’s Voice sounds so lovely! I love reading this tag, it’s such fun πŸ™‚ Also I’m so glad you loved the last Mantel! I’d really love if she wrote another series like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SPOILERS!!!!!!!

      I can’t imagine I’m going to like Harrow the Ninth as much, because Gideon was the main reason I liked the book so much. Without Gideon, will I even care? I’m nervous.


  2. I’ve been going back and forth with the Fifth Season as well! I want to read it but yeah the format is a real wall for me every time I think about starting. I just need to jump in one day! I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, I need to read The Fifth Season this year as well! It’s one of those books I can’t believe (and am a little ashamed) I haven’t gotten to yet. Also, so excited for Empire of Gold!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SAME. I always feel like such an SF/F poser when I admit I haven’t read it. But truthfully, I didn’t enjoy the book of hers I *did* read, and it’s daunting to tackle such a large, differently formatted book by an author who you didn’t enjoy previously.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh, which book of hers did you not enjoy? Hesitancy definitely makes sense after a subpar experience. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single complaint about The Fifth Season though, so I’m very hopeful about it! I’m brand new to Jemisin so we shall see.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I was fully expecting to love.

          Really, you’ve not heard anything negative? I’ve heard SO MANY complaints about the format, especially the chapters written in 2nd person. I think it’s a kind of love or hate book.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ah, that’s too bad, that one’s on my list as well!

            Nothing memorable, at least! But I haven’t really gone digging for varied reviews, I just seem to frequently stumble across readers who are gushing about the book. Good to know in advance that there’s a counterbalance to the hype! Second person is notoriously polarizing, so I suppose that makes sense. I hope it’ll turn out to be a good experience rather than a bad one, for both of us!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Well, and Jemisin as a person is polarizing since SF/F notoriously has a lot of toxic masculinity. You won’t be surprised to hear that most of the people who passionately hated The Fifth Season are white dudes. The same sort that hated Star Wars 8. *sigh*

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Ah, I did know that was a problem in SF/F but I didn’t realize that was happening for Jemisin in particular. You’re right that it’s not surprising though, the white dudes are very vocal when they aren’t the center of attention, and Jemisin being a POC with a successful career must really bother them!

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Hena Khan did a Little Women retelling called More to the Story last year(?) and it sent me down a rabbit hole of reading Little Women retellings. I also met her at Book Expo and she is just as sweet and wonderful as you would imagine :]

    Liked by 1 person

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