Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Lately I’ve been really stuck in trying to get through two reading challenges I have going on this month. You can check out my list for first time trying them out if you want.

I talk about my Make Your Myth-Taker reading challenge HERE

and you can see my choices for the The Olympic Games HERE

While I was checking out some Booktube channels for inspiration and new ideas, a friend of mine suggested we go through the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag to each other. We actually made videos to each other answering the tags and talking about books and life in general and now our significant others are thinking we are very weird because of it. We don’t plan posting the videos anywhere public and they are for personal use and enjoyment only; but it gave me something to think about in my reading time as well. This is why I decided to make a post to go through the tags and summarize what I have learned about myself and my reading in the first half of 2020.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

Incubus Caged (The Incubus, #1) by A. H. Lee

This book was a revelation for me. I did not find many good fantasy books or stories that incorporate hardcore sex well. I get really agitated by mainstream fantasy books that skirt around the actual sexual act. I made a point not to read some of the authors who do this no matter how popular their stories are. I was kinda blown away at how good this book was in that regard. The magical and fantasy aspects of the book were really well done by my opinion and the sexual theme seemed was nicely incorporated into it. The beginning of the story was a bit touch and go until the fantastical world the author build unfolded. The fact that this is a accidental Kindle find and I bought the whole trilogy says a lot since I’m a bit traditionally stingy when it comes to buying books on Kindle – I prefer physical copies.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

I bought first two books of The Folk of the Air book series at the Interliber book fair in Zagreb last year. I’ve only started reading them in January this year. I was reluctant to get the third book since the format was different than the first two and that really annoys me. I read both books in quick succession and was left with a dilemma: wait for half a year for the same format of the third book to come out OR get the third book in a bigger hardcover format… This book had such an influence on me that I went and ordered the hardcover third book – again, this is something I have never done before! I ended up loving the whole trilogy so much I plan on rereading the last book this month!

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Lately I have been very glad of my book club friends. Through book club I met some wonderful people and my life is richer for the experiences we shared. When I learn that this is a book about a book club with an urban fantasy twist I was interested right away! This book reminded me of Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris which I started reading back when it was still called The Southern Vampire Mysteries and I got really nostalgic and reminded that I never read the last book of that series… Anyway I’m getting off topic here, but book club, vampire slaying and a quirky band of women – I’m totally getting this book soon!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The reason I put this book as the most anticipated release for the second half of 2020. is because at the start of the 2020 one of the Croatian publishers announced it will be translating it. I’m guessing it might come somewhere in autumn or whenever the TV show starts releasing on Netflix. I really can’t wait for the translated edition to come out so I can talk about it with some of my book club friends who don’t read books in English. And I really want to talk more about these books with some people in my life!

5. Biggest disappointment

The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13) by Kim Harrison

The amount of disappointment I felt because of this book does not really show in the review I did for it. I postponed reading this book since it was a last book of the series I have been reading for a long time. I went trough a lot in my life while reading these books and they kinda kept me afloat of the bad things. I had very strong emotions and fond memories connected with these books and characters. This last book fell flat for me. I could not get into it and I was annoyed while reading. I was seriously considering to get rid of all the books and this is still an option for me. From a book series that game me good vibes I was left with a lots of negative emotions that frustrate me when I think about these books. You can check my review HERE.

6. Biggest surprise

The Incubus book series by A. H. Lee

As I’ve already mentioned the best book as I count my reading experiences in 2020 was the first book of the Incubus trilogy. This whole series was the biggest positive surprise for me in 2020. I will be on the lookout for this author for some other fantasy works with adult content. This is the kind of story I’m glad I often take chances with Kindle freebies and samples.

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Holly Black with her The Folk of the Air

Another already mentioned and new for me author this year is Holly Black and her The Folk of the Air book series. I have heard of her works before but since they were mostly aimed at younger audiences I mostly skipped them. The Folk of the Air was a thrill to read and I love those characters. I have acquired desktop and mobile background fan art of Jude and Cardan. The scenes and characters are very expressive and dramatic and I love the writing style. At the same time I am glad that the trilogy The Folk of the Air is complete and finished but would love to read more of the stories with these characters. I actually don’t mind rereading these books which is something I don’t do often!

8. Newest fictional crush

Tom Severin from Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6) by  Lisa Kleypas

Tom Severin from Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6) by  Lisa Kleypas is a workaholic that never had motivation to live life for anything else but his work. He starts as cold, distant and money motivated. When a chance of a good deal in his personal life comes along he would not be the driven businessman he is not to take it. I love the jaded and the childlike logic of Tom Severin: he has amassed enough wealth that he is capable of making someone happy with it. He is hardworking and cares for those in his charge when he has the chance to prove it. It is a heartbreaking character with integrity and a it just makes me love him more for it!

9. Newest favorite character

Cardan Greenbriar from The Folk of the Air

This character is amazingly written! The amount of backstory that was given and even more that it was only hinted about was a pleasure to read. I love how flawed he comes off in the books and how his character growth flows in a constant stream whether he is in the center of the narrative or not. In the whole trilogy his character is constantly moving and growing. Every scene with him shows progress in some way and I love how the author managed that.

10. Book that made you cry

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo

I read a number of Grishaverse books in quick succession but the amount of tears from the Crooked Kingdom took me by surprise. I wept and kept reading believing that something will happen to disprove the reason for my weeping! The sadness was even greater since the character that was most hit by grief in the book was very open and lovable and the grief translated so raw to the reader.

11. Book that made you happy

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Just holding this book in my hands makes me excited. It is gorgeous and the story inside it has taken some very sharp twists and turns that make me wonder how the author is going to handle the next book of the series. Reading this book has made me equally happy and frightful but also very excited with the prospects it brings to the plot. I believe I will be riding this hype train long into the Netflix TV show and I hope it will be good enough to last more than a few seasons!

12. Favorite book to film adaptation that you’ve seen this year

October Faction / Altered Carbon-Takeshi Kovacs

While I was going trough the many book to film adaptations I loved watching so far this year I had so many options but most of them were adaptations of books I have not read. I chose two options for that reason. One is a graphic novel to a one season Netflix TV series adaptation which started kinda shaky but I ended up liking enough to want to read the graphic novels which I understand differ from the TV adaptation greatly. My second choice was the second season of Altered Carbon TV series and Takeshi Kovacs book series by Richard Morgan. I have not read those either but have a friend that was very upset by the book/adaptation differences as well. I liked the adaptations and enjoyed watching both TV series!

13. Favorite review you’ve written (booktube or written)

Book of Wayward Girls and Wicked Women edited by Angela Carter 

In March I have read a collection of short stories about women from a colorful selection of authors and enjoyed them greatly. I was inspired to take pictures of quotes and post them on Instagram as well. I enjoyed reading and writing about this book and the thematic mood for March was a great fir as well. Up to this book I did not use many props while taking pictures because I don’t feel very talented in arranging them in general. This book made me feel empowered in a way and it was nice to write about my reading experience with it. You can check out my review HERE.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

This year was extraordinary in many ways for me and the books I’ve read and acquired. I have taken to buying more hardcover editions and how pretty a book is definitely factors into the equation more for me as of late. In a batch of books I recived early this year Ninth House is one of the prettiest. I’ve taken to love the shiny illustrations under the jacket of the hardcover editions.

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

I have made a few lists of books I plan to read by the end of the year and among the books I have left to read there are a few I know I will need some extra motivation and concentration. I will not post these lists here now, you can check some of them on this post HERE. I would like to single out a few that I am both excited and apprehensive about starting to read. One that will be a challenge is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It is a big book and I have a great desire to read it “one day”. I will have to push myself with it and hope for the best. Also I plan on tackling the whole The Trials of Apollo book series by Rick Riordan by the end of the year. I have found it difficult to immerse myself into the main story of these books.

It is very evident that my 2020 reading was heavily influenced by few selected authors and book series. I have made good on my goals to read more of the books I already own and I am very pleased with results so far. I hope to be this pleased with my reading by the end of this year as well!

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