Thursday, July 2, 2020

Tag: Mid-Year Freak Out

Welcome to the Mid-Year Freak Out Tag! Can you believe we’re exactly halfway through 2020? It’s been . . . interesting, right? Today, we’re going to look backward and forward. I’m going to freak out about the books I’ve read and the books I still need to read in 2020.

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The Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far In 2020?

So far, 2020 hasn’t been the greatest reading year. I don’t know if the books have been “meh,” or if I’ve just been a stressed out picky witch because of *gestures widely.* Either way, the book that has stuck in my addled brain the longest is Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. I read it back in January and still find myself thinking about it. It lives up to the hype! It’s about the author’s experiences growing up in a survivalist compound. Her childhood is so wild that I had to keep reminding myself I was reading nonfiction. I highly recommend this memoir.

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far In 2020?

I’ve only read two sequels this year. The best one was Wundersmith: The Calling Of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. I’m obsessed with this series. It reminds me of the excitement and happiness I felt while reading Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter as a kid. It’s the bizarre, hilarious tale of a magical child who is learning to live in a ridiculous world. The covers of the series are heinous. Can we get a redesign?

3. New Release You Haven’t Read But Want To?

All of them? I’ve only read one 2020 release so far this year. I’m such a slow reader! And I have so many books! According to my spreadsheet, an average of nine months pass between the time I buy a book and the time I finish it. Basically, I can create, incubate, and birth a human child faster than I can read a new release. Nicely done, me.

A 2020 book I’m excited to read is The Animals At Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey. It came out in March. I haven’t read it. I don’t even own it. I want to read it because it’s about a haunted manor and a woman who’s charged with protecting a collection of taxidermy animals from the bombs of WWII. Historical fiction. Dead critters. Ghosts. That sounds like my brand of weird.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2020?

The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. I’m trash for whatever V.E. Schwab writes. Her books should just go ahead and jump in my virtual shopping cart. This one stars a woman who is blessed to live forever and cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

5. Biggest disappointment?

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak. I was so excited for this book that I preordered it and then waited a year until I had enough free time to give it all of my attention. It was . . . boring. I kept trying to convince myself that I was enjoying it, but that was a lie! I’m disappointed, people. The premise is intriguing. It’s about five brothers who live together in the “racing district” of a town in Australia. Their lives become complicated when their criminal father shows up and asks for help with a construction project. The book is very long, very slow, and mostly lacking suspense. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t trick myself into loving it.

6. Biggest surprise?

Probably Horrorstรถr by Grady Hendrix. I knew I’d like it because it’s a horror novel packaged to look like an Ikea catalog. What’s not to like about that? I didn’t know I’d love it. The characters are Ikea-employees-turned-ghost-hunters who are reluctantly investigating a haunted store. The plot is fast paced and disgusting. There are amusing illustrations of Ikea furniture and various torture devices. I laughed. This is a book you can get lost in for hours and forget about the real world.

7. Favorite new author?

I don’t know if I can call any of these authors “favorites” yet, but I have discovered a bunch of new-to-me authors whose work I’m excited about. Grady Hendrix, Delia Owens, Jessica Townsend, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Seanan McGuire, K. Ancrum, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. Oh, and Judy Blume. I somehow made it through my entire existence without reading a Judy Blume book. This year, I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I loved it enough that I immediately bought In The Unlikely Event.

8. favorite character?

Evelyn Hugo from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She’s one of my all-time favorite characters. She’s confident, cunning, and will do anything to get what she wants. Her story is full of twists and surprises.

9. Book that made you happy?

There have been so many! I know I started this post by whining about my “meh” reading year, but books make me happy. That’s why I read them. I had the most fun while reading Nevermoor: The Trials Of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. The fantasy world is perfectly ridiculous. Check it out if you love magical schools and/or giant talking cats.

10. Favorite book-to-movie adaptation?

It’s not a movie, but HBO/BBC did a freakin’ fantastic job with the adaptation of His Dark Materials. The books are childhood favorites of mine, so of course I was paranoid and skeptical about the adaptation. I shouldn’t have worried. The writers got all the important story bits in there. The actors are talented, and the animated creatures look realistic enough. Bring on season 2!

11. Most beautiful book you’ve bought?

Hmmm. This is a hard question because my books are fugly. (Do people still say “fugly?” Probably not.) I buy the cheapest books I can find. They tend to be moderately gross. This is one of the reasons why I quit Bookstagram.

My copy of The Wicker King by K. Ancrum is nice. The symbols on the cover are shiny gold. It’s a mixed-media book, so there are photos and drawings inside.

12. What book do you need to read by the end of the year?

There are two series I want to reread. The TV adaptation of His Dark Materials made me want to reread the books. My dad surprised me with a copy of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, so I need to reread The Hunger Games. Hopefully these series are as good as I remember.

Do you want to do this tag? Consider yourself tagged.


  1. Ah, rereading The Hunger Games sounds like a great idea! I'm on such a long waitlist for the new book that I would definitely have time!

  2. Books have been my refuge, not my problem, with 2020. And do you mean this year is only half over :O.

  3. I'm so glad to see Horrorstor on your list! It was excellent. Have you read anything else by Hendrix yet?

    Lauren @ Always Me

  4. I'm really looking forward to Addie LaRue too! Need to finish the HDM series, what I saw was good! This looks fun, I might do this tag :)

  5. Too bad about the Zusak book! Ugh. I liked The Book Thief ... but know sometimes authors can't live up to their past books. It's awful when that happens. I'm a bit chicken to read the memoir Educated ... but you have given me courage that all the abuse & danger she goes thru is worth reading about it. hmm

  6. I cannot agree more about Educated. I read it a couple of years ago and I still think about it from time to time. ๐Ÿ‘✨

    I keep seeing people raving about the Townsend books. I will have to check them out. ๐Ÿ“š

    Yes, good old fugly. It was a proper word in the late '80s, early '90s. ๐Ÿ˜†

    Oh, don't quit Instagram! That could be your theme! Fugly books! I would love to see them. ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. I've been seeing Horrorstor everywhere, and I really can't wait to read it! Everyone gives it such glowing reviews. Great post! There are plenty of books here I've had my eyes on!

  8. This was so fun to read! I'm always fascinated to see what books people recommend - and I am also impressed with the series of His Dark Materials, though haven't quite completed it, yet. I hope the second half of the year provides some awesome reads!

  9. In the Unlikely Event is so good! I hope you like it! I also thought HBO did an incredible adaptation of His Dark Materials and I'm looking forward to the next season.

  10. Evelyn Hugo was an amazing character. Self-absorbed but also compassionate. Shrewd but often kind. She was willing to make ugly choices to get what she wanted. I loved that about her.

  11. I read Zusak's The Messenger and was similarly unable to convince myself I was enjoying it. I feel so bad about it. Like, maybe the dude had one amazing book in him, but not more? I haven't read any Townsend, and I blame it mostly on those covers. I trust you though, so I'll have to give her a try. I love Wicker King, and agree that it has a great cover and interesting design overall.

  12. My comment seems to have got lost in the netherworld somewhere so I'll try again! I really enjoyed Judy Blume when I was younger and Margaret was one of my favourites. I plan to read a few of them again so I can do a review. I've got four or five Grady Hendrix books waiting on me and I hope to read at least one this year. I'm looking forward to the Hunger Games sequel and if it is good, maybe more in the future!

  13. Ah I love Evelyn Hugo! She is such a strong female character. I haven't read Educated but it's been on my TBR quite some time now. I'm waitlisted at the library for it, but as soon as I can I want to read it. :)