Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

It is about the mid-way point in the year and I’ve seen this tag going around on Youtube every summer for a few years. I thought I would do it because why not? Also, I’m reading a bit slowly right now so I don’t have many new reviews in the works. Doing this tag is stalling, but maybe you’ll enjoy it anyway? Here is the original tag video.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2017:
TRotDbyKIThis has not been the best reading year for me so far. I haven’t had as much time to read as I would like for one thing. From the books I have read I don’t think I have given any 5 stars on Goodreads even though I have read (as of June 29th) 33 books. So, the best book I have read so far this year would have to be a reread and that is The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. I first read this book during my undergraduate studies a few years ago. I liked it then, but I didn’t love it. I don’t think I took the time to really appreciate it back then. I just wanted to read it, do my homework on it, and move on. This time I read it for my M.A. capstone project and I loved it. I appreciated it so much more. I think I loved it because I had been through a lot more “real life” experiences since my first reading and the point of my capstone project was to study unspoken communication and this novel is full of it.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017:
I haven’t read that many sequels this year. In fact, I don’t think I have read any sequels of novels at all. I have, however, read a couple of graphic novel volumes. Does that count? Sure, let’s go with that. From the few I have read I have to say that The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 3 is the best because who doesn’t love an adorable cartoon cat?

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:
TBatNbyKAI am terrible at reading new releases. I am a bargain hunter by nature so I usually cannot justify buying a new release at full price when I could wait a bit and find a used copy. That’s great, but then I end up forgetting about the new release or when I do finally buy it for cheap it sits on my shelf for at least a few months, unread. With all that being said, the newest book on my wishlist that I am excited to read is The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I really don’t know too much about it except that it draws inspiration from Russian fairy tales and looks like a snowy, cozy read.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:
Is the next A Song of Ice and Fire book coming out this year?! Yes? No? Maybe? Does anyone know? Well, besides that I would have to say Jen Campbell’s new short story collection, The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night. Judging by her Youtube channel, Jen and I have similar tastes in books and themes. Her poetry is quite nice, but I’m not big on poetry in general so I was very happy to hear she is coming out with a short story collection that is inspired by fairy tales. I have high hopes!

Biggest disappointment:
I’ve had a few disappointments this year, but I would have to go with River of Ink by Paul M. M. Cooper as the most disappointing. I was expecting a mixture of fantasy/historical aspects with good atmosphere and characters. I got none of that. I was very bored, the story was repetitive, and the characters were bland. I skim read a fair bit of it even though I was on a 16 hour plane ride with nothing else to do. I doubt I will bother to write a review for it because I have so little to say!

Biggest surprise:

PRbyROBPerfume River by Robert Olen Butler. I know I didn’t rate this novel particularly high (~3.5/5), but I was actually impressed by it. I knew it didn’t quite sound like my cup of tea when I picked it up, but I wanted to give it a chance and I am glad I did. I was very impressed by the way Butler wrote character interactions. They felt so damn real and genuine. I have seen conversations in real life go exactly the way he wrote them in the novel. The way he focused on words, actions, and inner thoughts made me understand and empathize with the characters completely. For a novel I wasn’t expecting to love I was very surprise to enjoy it as much as I did. You can read more about this novel in last week’s review.

Favorite new author: (Debut or new to you)
Ottessa Moshfegh. I read her short story collection, Homesick for Another World and was blown away by her ability to construct complex characters and delve into the human psyche. The review for the collection will be up in a few weeks and I just bought her novel Eileen.

Newest fictional crush:
Haha, I don’t think I have a fictional crush?

Newest favorite character:
opcUMTbI had a hard time answering this question. I haven’t really latched onto a character I love in a while. I don’t even remember if I read about this character this year or last year, but I love Ghus from Saga. I love so many Saga characters: Marko/Alana, Klara, Lying Cat, and Izabel to name a few. Ghus is one of those side characters that I can’t get enough of! Not only does he look adorable, but he has a very genuine personality and could surely hurt you if he wanted.

Book that made you cry:
Brothers by Yu Hua. China’s history is sad. This novel is sad. It has its moments of happiness and humor, but when you remember that the events in this novel happened many times over for people… it is hard to imagine. Review to come!

Book that made you happy:
Can I say Chi’s Sweet Home again? Considering I put off reading Vol. 3 until I was in a sad mood it has to be my answer here!

Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year:
I don’t think I can answer this one as I haven’t seen any movie or TV show adaptations this year.

Favorite review you’ve written this year:
After I (attempt to) proofread my reviews I try not to go back and look at them because I embarrass myself. If I had to pick one in recent memory I would pick my review of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I don’t think my opinion was anything special or new, but I feel like I did a decent job of outlining my thoughts.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year:
CTbyKFThis is probably a very predictable answer, but the book of Celtic Tales I reviewed a month or so back is the most beautiful book I’ve bought this year. You can read my review of the edition, but it doesn’t do the book much justice. Kate Forrester does the illustrations and I hope beyond hope more editions are released that focus on other cultures and are also illustrated by her.


What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
There are a lot of books I need to read by the end of the year, but my main goal is to finish some series. I kind of hate series because even if I read one book from a series and dislike it I feel the need to finish the series. This wastes so much of my reading time on books that I dislike or just think are OK. I could simply DNF a book or series, but what if it gets better?! Anyway, by the end of the year I really want to finish the His Dark Materials series and the second book in the Keeper of Tales series, The Chronicle of Secret Riven. I am also debating on whether or not I want to finish The Lunar Chronicles series. I really thought I would enjoy The Lunar Chronicles, but after finishing Cinder and Scarlet and only giving them 2.5-3 stars I don’t know if I want to devote the time to read two more very large books that I may not enjoy that much.

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