Posted in Life

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

This is a list of questions I’ve seen Youtubers answering. It seemed like fun, and I can always use more excuses opportunities to talk about books, so here we are. I tried to keep this limited to fiction and mostly succeeded.

1. Best book you’ve read so far this year
I’ve reread some excellent books, but if I had to pick a new one, it might have to be A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. It’s one I can’t recommend as wholeheartedly as I would like due to content issues (language, discussions of some characters’ ill-advised relationships…), and that’s truly a shame because it’s excellent.
The main character, Pip, decides to use her senior project to reexamine a murder case that rocked her town five years ago. She doesn’t think the person blamed did it and wants to share her doubt with others. But her investigation gets her in deeper than she bargained for.
I couldn’t put it down. Most of what happens is research and conversations, yet the book is so well-plotted and paced that I spent two nights going, “I DON’T NEED SLEEP I NEED ANSWERS.”
It also has one of the best romances I’ve ever read in YA fiction. It’s appropriately slow paced but really adorable, and it never once took center stage away from the mystery.
It’s such a great book. I so wish it were a little more appropriate so I could go around telling everyone they should read it.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far this year
I shall give this slot to The Unicorn Whisperer by Dana Simpson. It’s the tenth volume in the Phoebe and Her Unicorn series of comics. They are cute, clever, and funny, and I recommend them.


3. New release you haven’t read yet but want to
I currently have a hold on After Dark: Poems About Nocturnal Animals by David Harrison, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis. The library’s copy is on order, but I should get it first when it arrives.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2020
The Devil and the Dark Water
by Stuart Turton. I loved his debut, The 7-1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. From skimming a few reviews (carefully; I don’t want spoilers), it seems people are finding this new one different by equally fascinating. It’s scheduled to be released in October. I’m trying to temper my excitement in case the book can’t live up to my expectations, but I really want it to be great.

5. Biggest disappointment
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley.
It started out so well. The main character meets a man who can see the future, kind of. He can see possibilities, but he doesn’t know for sure which ones will happen. Using his ability, he manipulated his life so he would meet the best friend he could see in the future at just the right time.
I LOVE that concept. This character was a morally gray one in intriguing ways. I enjoyed the style, which was slow-paced in a way I really like sometimes.
Unfortunately, by the end, the plot had taken a variety of turns I didn’t like at all. It was frustrating. I was very sad I didn’t end up loving this book the way I wanted to.

6. Biggest surprise
That would be One Came Home by Amy Timberlake. I didn’t realize what kind of story I was getting into and probably wouldn’t have picked up the book if I had, so I was surprised by how much I liked it.
But since I discussed that thoroughly in my last book recommendations post, here I shall highlight the runner-up: Emmy in the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido. This is a novel in verse. I don’t read many of those because I don’t like them. Free verse isn’t my preferred type of poetry. But. There is a huge difference between breaking your writing up into lines to call it poetry and actually writing poetically. This is the first book like this I’ve read where I thought the format added to the story.
Emmy is a middle schooler who loves music but ends up in a coding class, and she slowly discovers she can love both. The poetry is used to highlight music things and coding things. While it remains not my preferred style, this one is very well done.

7. Favorite new author
I’ve been getting into Eliza Wheeler’s stuff. She’s a picture book illustrator who does beautiful work. Recently she released a lovely book she wrote and illustrated about her grandmother’s childhood, Home in the Woods.

8. Newest fictional crush
I’ve had (and have) lots of fictional crushes in my time, but I don’t think any have stood out this year. Perhaps the closest is…

9. Newest favorite character
I really liked Ravi Singh, the love interest in A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. He’s kind and supportive and smart and all around a great guy. He definitely added to my enjoyment of that book.
Also a shoutout to Victor, one of the two main characters in Vicious by V.E. Schwab. Both main characters can be classified as villains, so Victor is not a great guy, but he’s fascinating to read about.

10. Book that made you cry and 11. Book that made you happy
I’d like to give both these questions the same answer: Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry by Julian Peters. This is a collection of classic poems turned into comic strips. It’s beautiful. Julian Peters clearly put much thought into making art that reflects the tone of the poems, and in some cases he made me appreciate poems I doubt I would have cared about otherwise. This is creative and different and I love it.

12. Favorite book to movie adaptation you saw this year
I can’t think of any that were notable. But I DID see The Lightning Thief musical ON BROADWAY back in January. It was the second time I’ve seen it, and it’s pretty much perfection.

13. Favorite review you’ve written this year
I didn’t think I would have an answer for this, but I got looking, and I do quite like my review of The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People edited by Randy Frazee. It’s an abridged version of the Bible designed to read like, well, a story. If you want to know more, go read my review.


14. Most beautiful book you bought this year
An Enchantment of Ravens 
by Margaret Rogerson. I mean look at that. And look at this version of the whole illustration. Charlie Bowater is an amazing artist.



15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
So many, I’m sure.
A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir, the conclusion to a series I’ve kept up with for several years, comes out in December and I hope to get to it quickly.
I’d like to pick up Isaiah by the Day: A New Devotional Translation by J. Alec Motyer, Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey, His Testimonies, My Heritage: Woman of Color on the Word of God edited by Kristie Anyabwile.
Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau and The Lost Orphan by Stacey Halls are a couple I want to investigate to see if they appeal to me.
The To Read list never ends.

4 thoughts on “Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

  1. I already have “Home in the Woods” in my cart for Virginia and/or Anna for Christmas. I heard of it way back in February and asked Melissa if she thought they’d like it. What do you think? I put your suggestion of Holly Jackson’s book on my own “to read” list!

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