Mid-Year Book Freak Out 2022

I can’t believe we’re already past the halfway mark for 2022! It’s been a rough few years and seems like it won’t be getting better anytime soon, but it’s nice to have a hobby that can help take you away from real world issues. So join me in not thinking about the million things happening around us and let’s talk about some books! I’ve answered these questions almost every year that I’ve had my blog, so I’ll link those below if you’re interested in checking out my answers and discussion in the past, but I think it would be fun to also give what my answers were in previous years for each question this time around! It’s also worth noting this is the first year that SJM won’t make it onto this list, since I’ve essentially DNF’d House of Sky and Breath (shocking, I know).

2021 Mid-Year Book Freak Out | 2020 Mid-Year Book Freak Out | 2019 Mid-Year Book Freak Out | 2018 Mid-Year Book Freak Out

Best Book You’ve Read So Far

This is actually a really difficult question this year, as I’ve had 25 books that I rated either a 4.5 or a 5 star. There have been so many standouts this year, including Little Thieves, The City of Dusk, The Bladed Faith, Killers of a Certain Age, For the Throne, Project Hail Mary, and most recently, This Vicious Grace. However, I do think one in particular pulls just slightly ahead of the rest and it’s the second time this author has shown up in this section – The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne. This clearly means that I need to start reading Malice soon, right??

  • 2021 Answer: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne
  • 2020 Answer: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas; The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso
  • 2019 Answer: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon; Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • 2018 Answer: Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far

Now I could easily say The Hunger of the Gods again for this one, but each year I try to choose a different book for each of the prompts in order to cover as many books as possible. This year I have read 9 sequels so far of which three of them were finishing out the series! I don’t think this is even much of a contest, other than what I already mentioned my favorite sequel has hands down been For the Throne by Hannah Whitten! I loved the new characters introduced and the new world, plus getting to see more of Red and Eammon was fantastic. I’m now looking forward to Whitten’s new book, The Foxglove King coming out next year!

2021 Answer: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
2020 Answer: Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto
2019 Answer: The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst
2018 Answer: Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To

I’ve actually got quite a few books that released this year that I really want to read but just haven’t gotten a chance to yet, some of which I own physically. Those that are my highest priority include The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh, The Rise and Reign of the Mammals by Stephen Brusatte, and most recently, Flames of Mira by Clay Harmon. I’ve also got quite a few Illumicrate editions that I got this year that are new releases that I want to read as well!

2021 Answer: The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid; Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard; Neon Gods by Katee Robert
2020 Answer: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Rosanne A Brown; Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova
2019 Answer: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal; The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons; Master of Sorrows by Justin Call; The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad; Peace and Turmoil by Elliot Brooks
2018 Answer: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci; Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett; Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

This is a tough one to give just one answer to, so I’ll name the books that I’m most excited for overall for the rest of the year! I’m definitely looking forward to Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen out later this month, I’m cautiously optimistic about Babel by R.F. Kuang since dark academia doesn’t always work for me. I’m also definitely looking forward to Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan because Daughter of the Moon Goddess was a book that I really enjoyed last year, and finally I’m very excited to read my ARC of The Luminaries by Susan Dennard because it just sounds incredibly interesting!

2021 Answer: Wings of Shadow by Nicki Pau Preto; The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart
2020 Answer: The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart; The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson; Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
2019 Answer: Starsight by Brandon Sanderson; The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
2018 Answer: Fire and Blood by George R R Martin

Biggest Disappointment

This year my biggest disappointment is The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. It has so much hype around it and it seems like everyone loves it, but it was SO DIFFICULT for me to want to pick it up to continue reading. It’s definitely a book that’s all vibes, no plot. I ended up DNFing this at about 70% so I’m counting it as a book read, especially since I put so much time into reading it. The characters were boring and completely unlikable, and it was very….obnoxious, pretentious, and far too philosophical to be interesting to me. I think the author has interesting ideas, but it just didn’t hit at all for me. This book is also now the reason that I think dark academia isn’t for me, because if it’s all about being completely unlikable and pretentious then I don’t want to read about it, which is why I’m a bit nervous about reading Babel although I hope it’ll be completely different!

2021 Answer: Near the Bone by Christina Henry
2020 Answer: The Arrangement by Robyn Harding
2019 Answer: The Winter Sister by Megan Collins; In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
2018 Answer: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill; The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak

Biggest Surprise

This year, I think my biggest surprise has been Tender is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica. I ended up reading this for Medievalathon for the ‘out of your comfort zone’ prompt because the book is essentially a horror book about government sanctioned cannibalism after a virus makes all animal meat deadly to humans. I think what surprised me the most about this is how it made me crave (pun intended) other horror books that make you want to scream “what the fuck???” at scenes in the book. If you were to take a look at the books I read after this one, it includes three other horror books, where before this one there was only one, so I’m just trying to scratch that itch that this book gave me. Ultimately, I ended up giving this book 3.5 stars because at times it felt a bit disconnected and surprisingly I felt like it could’ve gone even further than it did, but maybe I’ve read and seen so many gross and disturbing things that I’m starting to get desensitized to it all.

2021 Answer: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne
2020 Answer: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
2019 Answer: The Diviners by Libba Bray
2018 Answer: The Girl in 6E

Favorite New Author

I think this year I have a very clear choice, whereas in previous years I just picked one of the authors I read books from. This year, I read 7 books by the same author and have loved all of them! That author is Deanna Raybourn, the author of the Veronica Speedwell series as well as the upcoming release Killers of a Certain Age, which I read and will have a review of closer to it’s release date in September (spoiler: I absolutely loved it!). Raybourn writing is so easy to fall into, and her characters are always so loveable and the witty banter is A++!

2021 Answer: KJ Sutton
2020 Answer: Melissa Caruso
2019 Answer: Samantha Shannon; Sebastien De Castell; Taylor Jenkins Reid
2018 Answer: Claire Legrand

Newest Fictional Crush

I’ve always said that I don’t really have fictional crushes, not like I see other people in the book community have. I always see people talking about these characters that they would die for and make fanart of, but I never have fictional crushes to that level of commitment. There are however a few characters that stick out to me this year – Stoker from the Veronica Speedwell series, Dante from This Vicious Grace, and both Eammon and Solmir from For the Throne. Looking back at last years answers, I’m shocked that Eammon didn’t make that list, although I can’t remember when exactly I read For the Wolf last year, so it may have been after this post.

2021 Answer: Hawke from From Blood and Ash
2020 Answer: Hunt from House of Earth and Blood
2019 Answer: Loth from The Priory of the Orange Tree
2018 Answer: Leif from Beyond a Darkened Shore; Fiske from Sky in the Deep

Newest Favorite Character

This is actually a tough one this year, mainly because I don’t think I can choose just one! This has been a great year so far discovering new characters that I absolutely love, starting with Vanja from Little Thieves, Taesia from The City of Dusk, Cyrus from The Bladed Faith, Orka and Elvar from The Hunger of the Gods, Kiva from The Prison Healer, and from my most recent book, Alessa and Dante from This Vicious Grace. I’m hoping that I can keep this up in the second half of the year with even more characters that I adore!

2021 Answer: Red from For the Wolf
2020 Answer: Hunt, Bryce, and Danika from House of Earth and Blood; Thia, Kiva, and Ericen from The Crow Rider
2019 Answer: Aurora Rising Crew
2018 Answer: Daleina from The Queen of Blood

Book That Made You Cry

I haven’t had any books this year that have made me legitimately start crying like I did in 2021 and 2020, but I’ve come pretty close! There were scenes in Little Thieves by Margaret Owen, It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey, For the Throne by Hannah Whitten, and This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede that made me get a bit emotional over. What can I say? When the main character is misunderstood and struggling it always makes me misty eyed.

2021 Answer: A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas
2020 Answer: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
2019 Answer: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
2018 Answer: The Hate you Give by Angie Thomas

Book That Made You Happy

There is one standout book that made me smile so often while reading it, and that would be Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I was so surprised by how much of a feel-good read this was, because it was not at all what I was expecting! I loved the relationship between the characters and seeing how much they cared about each other, and after reading so many dark and heavy books this year, this was such a treat and I’m glad that I finally got around to it. I also highly recommend the audiobook, it’s extremely well done!

2021 Answer: The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
2020 Answer: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
2019 Answer: The Written by Ben Galley
2018 Answer: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation You Saw This Year

I did read and watch the adaptation for No Exit this year, but it wasn’t my favorite adaptation at all. I think that other than that adaptation, the only other book to movie/tv show that I watched was the second season of Bridgerton which I loved almost as much as the first season! I haven’t been watching as much TV or movies as I usually do, since I’ve been reading more this year and I’ve been watching a ton of YouTube videos. This has also been the year of my tiktok addiction as well, so I’ve been (accidentally) spending hours just scrolling through videos.

2021 Answer: Bridgerton (The Duke and I)
2020 Answer: Les Miserables; Little Women
2019 Answer: Crazy Rich Asians
2018 Answer: The Hobbit; Lord of the Rings

Favorite Review/Post You’ve Written This Year

Yikes, so this is kind of an embarassing question this year, because I don’t think I have a favorite at all. My blog has pretty much consisted of TBRs, wrap ups, and new release posts among all my arc reviews, and I can’t say that any of them are favorites. I’ve been much more focused this year on my bookstagram, as it’s hard to juggle two forms of social media especially when they take a lot of time and dedication to do. Plus, I just don’t get the same amount of interaction here on my blog. I just don’t think people like to head to blogs nowadays and prefer visual formats like instagram.

2021 Answer: Blogger Burnout; The Shadow of the Gods Review
2020 Answer: LGBT+ Fantasy Book Recommendations; 5 Great Books With…Dragons
2019 Answer: YA/Adult Fantasy Discussion; Self Published Fantasy
2018 Answer: Requesting ARCs 101

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought So Far this Year

This is another tough question, but only because this is my first year subscribing to Illumicrate and they always have the MOST STUNNING editions of new releases. I think my favorites so far have been Little Thieves and A River Enchanted, they’re absolutely gorgeous!

2021 Answer: Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
2020 Answer: Don’t Call the Wolf, Bone Crier’s Moon, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin; Ruthless Gods
2019 Answer: Throne of Glass collectors edition; Illustrated edition of A Game of Thrones
2018 Answer: Minalima edition of Beauty and the Beast

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

Every year I say ‘all of the books!’ and that’s not really much different this year either. There are just so many books to read and not enough time to read them all! I think I definitely want to make an effort to read all of the ARCs that I have for the rest of the year (I have 11 left) plus I would really like to read a few books that I’ve had my eye on for quite a while – Song of Blood and Stone by L Penelope, Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons, Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, and I’d love to finish the Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne this year as well!

2021 Answer: 20 in 2021 TBR; 2021 series TBR
2020 Answer: all of them (but mainly ARCs)
2019 Answer: all of them (but mainly physical books)
2018 Answer: books from my physical TBR

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