This is what happens when you’re an indecisive human. You’re at first adamant you won’t be doing any mid year reading updates on your blog or booktube, but then suddenly, somehow, you end up doing two – one on each. I’ve been loving reading/watching everyone else’s updates, so I couldn’t resist really. I was tagged to do this one by Jess over at Read By Jess, and also the Mid Year Check In Tag by Jasmine over at Jasmine’s Reads, so I decided to spread them across the two platforms. Since the Freak Out tag is the longer one, it’s making its appearance on my blog! If you want to check out the other one too – some of the questions are similar but there are some different ones too! – you can click here. But, anyway, let’s have a lil mid year catch up!
1. Best Book You’ve Read in 2018 So Far?
So I’m already going to cheat a bit and give two books for this answer…I know. I have no self control. BUT my first answer would be a nonfiction, An Ancient Guide to Modern Life by Natalie Haynes to be specific. This one talks about ancient Greece and Rome, covering topics from politics, philosophy, art and landscapes and putting it all into perspective compared to modern day life. We always talk about ancient civilisations as if we’ve nothing in common with them at all, when actually we’re a lot closer than most people realise. I loved reading this, and Natalie Haynes’ writing style made it so accessible. I flew through it and felt so enthusiastic about learning history again, I can’t help but name this my favourite of the year so far.
But since most people around these parts prefer fiction over nonfiction – and it is a frolic through fiction, after all – I figured I’d mention my favourite fiction too. And that title would have to go to The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. Following a conwoman in Cairo, Nahri doesn’t believe in magic until she accidentally summons up a djinn warrior (as you do). Thus was one of those books that reminded me why I love fantasy so much. It had been so long since I’d read a book that gripped me so quickly, and I was just sucked in till the end. There’s so much hype surrounding this book, and deservedly so.
2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far?
I mean, I’ve only read one sequel so far this year, which was Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab so…that one?
I’M SO BAD AT CONTINUING SERIES, I KNOW. I KEEP TELLING YOU THIS.
Luckily, Victoria Schwab is the queen of writing addictive stories, so it’s likely Our Dark Duet would’ve ended up as my answer had I actually been a productive bookworm with a knack for finishing what they start.
P.S. Every time I’ve typed that title on my phone, it autocorrects it to “our dark diet”. It’s confirmed, diets are evil.
3. A New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To?
ALL OF THEM.
The main one I have in mind at the moment is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, which I was so lucky to receive a finished copy from the publisher. It’s such a stunning book, and with how much I enjoyed Uprooted by Naomi Novik, I have high hopes. I mean, it’s a Rumplestiltskin inspired fantasy. COME ONNNN.
Since everyone is yelling about Spinning Silver right now, I’ll give an honourable mention to The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson. I received this one aaaages ago and meant to get to it immediately, but that obviously didn’t happen and now I’m mad at myself. It sounds SO GOOD. I think I’ll be saving this one for the Autumn months now, as the setting seems to focus on woodland and the overall atmosphere of the story seems pretty dark, so this glorious sunshine hitting England right now just won’t do.
4. Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of 2018?
So I’m really bad at keeping up with upcoming releases. I just never remember dates. But I do know that Victoria Schwab is releasing not one, but TWO books later this year – Vengeful, the sequel to Vicious, and City of Ghosts, a middle grade. I don’t usually read Middle Grade at all, but I find Victoria Schwab’s writing so addictive and I have full faith in her storytelling, so I’m willing to give it a try.
5. Biggest Disappointment?
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I know. I know.
It wasn’t a bad book! I really did enjoy it. But the plain fact is this book has so much hype it’s actually goes beyond overwhelming and has turned into another thing entirely that can’t be named. And trust me, I’m so thrilled that a diverse fantasy has gained that much publicity. But in terms of storytelling, it didn’t seem that different to most fantasy book to me. Which again, isn’t a problem. I do love fantasy after all. It just wasn’t anything new, and the hype surrounding it mayyyyybe built this idea that the entire concept will be a new experience. And so I was disappointed to rate this 3 stars, rather than 5.
6. Best Surprise?
Definitely An Ancient Guide to Modern Life. I expected to find it interesting, but I didn’t expect to find myself sucked into the ancient civilisations so completely, I almost wanted to live there (note the “almost” – times were bad for women after all). I connected with the writing of this book so well, it was about a topic I find fascinating, and I was just generally thrilled to be reading about ancient history again.
7. Favourite New Author?
I…don’t claim authors as favourites all that often. I don’t feel like I can until I’ve read the majority of their books, which never happens because – as we established earlier – I’m awful at continuing with anything. So maybe this is more of a “new potential favourite author”.
Either way, I’m going to yell about Natalie Haynes some more. She captured my attention so entirely with An Ancient Guide to Modern Life, and I have The Children of Jocasta (a myth retelling) sat on my shelves waiting for me. I have a feeling I’m going to love all her works, both fiction and nonfiction, which I’ve not actually experienced yet. So should be interesting.
8. Newest Fictional Crush?
Nope. Don’t get them. I don’t understand the whole “book boyfriend” thing.
9. New Favourite Character?
Possibly Nahri, from The City of Brass. I remember loving her – in fact, I’m pretty sure in named my review saying I wanted to be her. I remember being in awe of how strong she was despite her vulnerabilities, both sides of which are actually shown, and how she wasn’t automatically *amazing* at everything. Her character was partly why I loved the book so much.
10. Books That Made You Cry?
11. Books That Made You Happy?
Apparently I don’t read typical “happy” books so I’m going to go with An Ancient Guide to Modern Life again. I know, *yawn* this is getting repetitive. But with every page of this book I was thrilled to be adoring history again. I felt like I’d found just the right book for me, and every second reading it was well spent.
12. Favourite Book To Movie Adaptation?
I…don’t actually watch TV or films all that often, so I haven’t seen many to choose from. In March however, I did see an early screening of Love, Simon (the adaptation of Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda) and adored it. It was such a feel good movie, and wasn’t too cringey for me to deal with. Both me and my friend left the cinema in a bubble of happiness that didn’t die down for hours.
13. Favourite Review You’ve Written?
I don’t usually have favourite reviews, but the first that comes to mind is actually the beginnings of my Penguin Modern Mini Review series. So far there are two posts for it – Part 1: The Death Episode and Part 2: The One Where Things Are Lost – and I’ve been really enjoying making my (slow) way through the mini Penguin Moderns this way! The idea behind the review series is basically just me giving mini reviews for the penguin moderns three at a time, as I wanted to say a little something about the ones I read, but writing full reviews for such tiny books would be a little bit impossible. So every time I read another three, another part is added to the series! This method also feels surprisingly relaxed, as I don’t have to worry about writing a full review, and can just babble on about my general thoughts and move onto the next.
14. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year?
So I’ve decided to split this one in two, and choose one book that I’ve bought and one that I’ve received. But there are just TOO MANY gorgeous books out this year, I can’t even deal with it. This question was so hard to narrow down.
Bought: A Celtic Miscellany. I love how this looks relatively simple, but the detail of the celtic design just wins me over. The colours remind me of Autumn, and I’ve spent ages just taking it all in. It’s also one of those covers that suits the topic perfectly – you’d know what sort of topic this covers before even reading the title, really.
Received: Circe by Madeline Miller. Not only is this my most recent favourite (though, sadly, I can’t include it in my favourite books for this post because I read it in December), but this book also has one of my all-time favourite cover designs. The UK edition, at least. Again, this one is so intricately detailed as well as super shiny, but anything with wild patterned covers just win me over immediately. I mean, the other books in the running for this were The Essex Serpent, A Sky Painted Gold and The Silence of the Girls so you can tell I have a type.
15. Books You Need To Read By The End Of The Year?
SO MANY. Get ready for the list…
The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes – Fantasy, Greek myth retelling of Oedipus and Antigone from the women’s perspective
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – Fantasy, retelling of Rumpelstiltskin
The King Must Die by Mary Renault – Greek myth retelling of Theseus and the Minotaur (I like retellings ok)
Over Nine Waves by Marie Heaney – Irish mythology, recommended to me in earnest
The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson – Nonfiction history (and huge)
The Magicians by Lev Grossman – Fantasy, again a recommendation
So that’s my Mid Year Book Freakout Tag!
I’d love to know what your favourite book so far this year has been, or if you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned! Feel free to link me to your tag/mid year update if you’ve done one, I’d love to read it!
Until next time,