Saturday, July 2, 2022

Mid-Year Reading Check-In

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As of today, the year is half over. Can you believe it? I can't. So . . . how's everybody holding up? Are you doing okay? This year has been intense for me. I started a new, unbelievably stressful job. I don't regret it at all, but I understand why my former therapist tried so hard to convince me it was a bad idea. I guess the life lesson from 2022 is, "Why the heck did you give a therapist so much money if you won't listen to them?"

In other news, Baby Brooklyn is 3 years old and already acting like a sassy teenager. How does she have so many opinions? She's three!




My reading has been slightly disastrous this year. Usually, I've read around 50 books by the halfway point. In 2022, I've read *drumroll* 30 books. I guess I can't complain because a few of them were really good. It's just frustrating to never have enough time for reading.

The best part of 2022 (so far) is Colorado Avalanche hockey. They won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 21 years. Last time they won, I was a literal child. I actually have vivid memories of their previous win because I was on a camping trip with my parents and had to watch the game on an itty-bitty TV with a giant antenna. This time, I got to watch on a TV that was big enough for me to see the puck. Good times.

Here's a video of 20,000 Avalanche fans singing All The Small Things because . . . I don't know. Why not? Let's party like it's 2001.



Okay. I know you're here for the books, so let's talk about books. This is the Mid-Year Freak-Out Tag.



✅  Mid-Year Reading Check-In  ⏰





Best Book You've Read So Far In 2022?




Out of all the books I've read this year, I've only given 3 of them five stars. The 5-star book that haunts me most is Home by Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison was such a talented writer. I read Home way back in January, but I can still remember the shock and horror I felt while devouring it. It's a powerful little book.

It's about a brother and sister who are learning to cope with major changes in their lives. The brother has just come home from the Korean War and is living in a mental hospital. The sister has left her husband and accepted a new job. One day, the brother gets a letter from a stranger that says his sister's life is in danger. She'll die if he doesn't go to Georgia and rescue her.

If you can handle depressing literary fiction, I highly recommend it.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Best Sequel You've Read So Far In 2022?




All the sequels in The Diviners series by Libba Bray. These books are the complete opposite of Home. They're fast-paced, funny, paranormal romps though 1920s New York. The setting is well-researched, and I love the 1920s slang. The characters are quirky and memorable. The books star a group of teens with supernatural powers. When a ghost/demon/thing starts committing murders, the kids have to stop partying long enough to solve the case.

If you're looking for a book series that will help you escape from real life, you should read this one. It's delightful.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To?




My most-anticipated release of 2022 is Gallant by VE Schwab. I'll read anything she writes. I always enjoy her morally gray characters and plot twists. Gallant is about an orphan and a mysterious house. I can't wait to read it.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of 2022?




I'm bad at paying attention to new releases! I have no idea what's coming out. I'll have to do some research. I'm pretty excited for A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon. I loved her other book, Three Things About Elsie. That one is about a trio of elderly people in a memory care facility. They believe that one of the facility's other residents has committed a crime, and they set out to find evidence. The book has excellent twists and a devastating reveal.

A Tidy Ending sounds just as good. An unhappy wife keeps receiving glamorous and mysterious letters. All of them are addressed to the previous owner of her house. She decides to find the previous owner and ends up getting more than she bargained for.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Biggest Disappointment?




Red, White & Royal Blue isn't the worst book I read this year, but I think the hype gave me unrealistic expectations. This story is stressful! I thought it would be a romantic comedy with a side of politics. Instead, it's politics with a side of romantic comedy.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Biggest Surprise?




Have you ever read a book that you didn't love but couldn't stop thinking about? That's me with Liz Moore's The Unseen World. While I was reading, I thought the plot was slow and the main character was boring. Then the characters started uncovering secrets, and I was hooked. I could not put the book down. When I finally finished it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I'm still thinking about it!

The Unseen World is a compelling blend of real history and unsettling futuristic artificial intelligence. It's a realistic (and somewhat heartbreaking) look at a young woman who's grappling with her father's past and the ramifications of the work he'd done. While she's investigating his past, she's also learning to live with a foster family, developing friendships and crushes, and watching her father's mind deteriorate.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Favorite New Author?




I'm tempted to say Toni Morrison again, but I've read 30 books, so maybe I should spread the love around like a highly contagious disease. Let's go with Elizabeth Acevedo. The Poet X is a novel that I want to fling through the door of every high school. I spent the entire book highlighting lines that would have resonated with teenage-me. It's a young adult contemporary novel about Xiomara, who is rebelling against pretty much everything. She has ultra-religious parents and a body that makes her stand out from the crowd. She's angry all the time. Then, she discovers her school's slam poetry club and learns how to make herself understood. She's more than just a curvy girl who attracts attention for all the wrong reasons.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Favorite Character?




Is it creepy for me to choose Joe Goldberg from the You series? I'll never forget him because his internal monologue is so different from what he presents on the outside. The You series is narrated by Joe, a stalker and murderer who becomes obsessed with a woman called Beck. He schemes up ways to insert himself into her life. I understand why Beck is attracted to Joe. On the outside, he's helpful, funny, smart, sweet, and bookish. I'd probably date him too. Since the reader gets to hear his thoughts, we know what Beck doesn't: He's violent, controlling, judgmental, and arrogant. It makes you wonder how well you can ever truly know a person.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Book That Made You Happy?




Pretty much every book makes me happy. That's why I read them! Since I can only choose one, let's go with Orange World And Other Stories. Karen Russell is one of my all-time-favorite writers. Her short stories are weird and magical. You spend most of the story wondering where it's going, and then everything snaps together like a puzzle in the end. I'm always in awe of her writing skills.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Favorite Book-To-Movie Adaptation?




Is it cheating if I pick Heartstopper on Netflix? It's a TV show, not a movie. Also, I haven't read the books yet. The show is adorable. It's a teenage love/friendship story with awkward, nerdy characters. I wish it had been around when I was a teenager.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Most Beautiful Book You Bought In 2022?




Sundial by Catriona Ward has the best cover. I love the color combination and the irritated coyote. It's very attention-grabbing. Unfortunately, I didn't love the story. It's confusing and disjointed. A mother and daughter return to the mother's abandoned childhood home in the desert. The mother grew up in a commune where "scientists" did mind-control experiments on animals. Horror ensued.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





What Book Do You Need To Read By The End Of The Year?




The unread book that's been on my shelf the longest is Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. I liked the author's other novel, but I've heard terrible things about this one, so I haven't read it yet. It's about a teenage girl who has a new boyfriend. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't know if he's real or if she imagined him. Some reviewers say that schizophrenia is misrepresented in the book.


Buy it on Amazon










Do you want to answer these questions on your blog or social media? Go for it!






23 comments:

  1. Yes, I'd say you are having a good year. And thank you for sharing your favorites and not-so favs. I've just added a few to my list and scratched off a couple, too.

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  2. I can't believe Brooklyn is already 3! Our niece is 6 and she has been sassy for quite awhile, so be prepared!

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  3. Your having such a good reading year! I’m happy to have found your blog. Also, I’m a huge Avs fan. Nice to see another bookish Avs fan!

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  4. That's quite a celebration. As a Blink-182 fan, I approve, though I don't understand why that song. I admire your courage in taking a big step with your career and glad to hear you don't regret it. Your assessment was spot on with RW&RB. I guess I was able to focus more on the parts I liked, but I did feel like the romance was secondary. I liked Made You Up.

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  5. I'm glad you like your stressful job! You read so many great books! I have been wanting to watch Heartstopper for a while now. I'll have to just do it!

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  6. I get overwhelmed at the thought of a mid-year check in, but it might be good for me to spend some time thinking about what I've read. I do feel this year is flying by too quickly so that would make me pause. Never a bad thing.

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  7. That quote lol. And yay for the Avs (although it's weird saying that as a Red Wings fan lol). I think The Unseen World sounds pretty good.

    I hope the new job is gong well and isn't completely horrible.

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  8. I have read 30 books so far this year too. That is a good number.

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  9. I totally understand you choosing Joe from You. That character voice is so unique and certain sticks with the reader.

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  10. I really hope you enjoy Gallant! I really loved it!
    And it's a shame you didn't love Red, White and Royal Blue. I've had that book on my kindle for ages, but I'm a bit worried to read it because there's so much hype, it feels like it can't possibly live up to it.

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  11. I really should read The Poet X sometime. I’ve heard good things about Home, too, and have it tucked away in my TBR for when I can handle really serious storylines again.

    Thanks for stopping by my post earlier.

    Lydia :)

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  12. I'm sorry your job is so stressful, but I'm glad you're finding some wonderful books to immerse yourself in. And yes, 3-year-olds have a lot of opinions, and they're not shy about sharing them!

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  13. Yes to Heartstopper being the best adaptation of the year, I ADORED that one! Also, glad to hear you enjoyed The Diviners series as that's been on my TBR for a while - 2022 is the year I'll finally read it though, I feel it :) Hope you'll have an amazing rest of the year and good luck with the new job and the 3-year old!

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  14. The Diviners is an all time favorite series - I hope you love the rest of the series!

    Joe is one of my favorite narrators - the audiobook production is awesome. I even appreciated the tv show.

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  15. Congratulations, but for some reason I thought this was Colorado's first Stanley Cup! I want to read Karen Russell, she is on my list of authors to check out.

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  16. Congrats to the Avs! It was hard to see my Lightning come so close to have it end at game 6. And at home. *sobs* But it was a great series overall. Sorry to see Red White & Royal Blue as your biggest disappointment. I enjoyed it, but I totally agree that it did not live up to the insane hype. And Heartstopper... oh my goodness, I love it so much. Every episode made my heart burst. Too precious for words. :)

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  17. I feel like that almost every time something bad happens just like my therapist said it would because I don't listen to her lol

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  18. I've been wanting to watch Heartstopper so I'm glad to see it made your list of favorites. Sorry to hear your new job is stressful but that's still great that you have no regrets about taking it.

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  19. Three 5-star books is still better than I'm doing lol. Man, I still need to read The Diviners series! The fact that you can never truly know what goes on in a person's head is something I've thought about probably too much in my life lol, so that aspect of You does sound interesting.

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  20. I love The Diviners series. I still need to read the final book though!

    Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  21. How I have not even heard of Home before? I read a ton of Morrison in college. I need to read The Diviners too. I always like Bray, but I'm always intimidated to start for some reason. I was on the committee that chose Made You Up as the Cybils winner for YA fiction in 2015, and I loved it so much, but I was less aware then of the importance of own voices for disability rep.

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  22. My daughter watches Heartstopper every day. She has watched the series all the way through multiple times. She's in love. We just got the first couple of graphic novels from the library, and she has loved poring over those too, so I went ahead and bought all of the volumes that are out so far. She's pretty obsessed!

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    1. Oh, and I meant to also say that I'm glad you're not regretting the new job, even if it has been a really tough transition.

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