Mid-Year Freakout

How is it mid-2021, already? Yikes! I’m notoriously bad at doing wrap-up posts for what I read, but I’ve seen this one around on a few blogs and I thought it would be fun, so here goes:

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021:

Asking a book blogger to pick their ‘best’ anything is cruel, so here are my top five:

  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (you’ll see I’ve been catching up on some long-recommended faves)
  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021:

Jade War by Fonda Lee. I’m both excited and terrified for the finale.

A new release you haven’t read but want to:

I’m surprised I didn’t drop everything to read One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston the minute it downloaded on my Kindle, but I haven’t been in the mood for romance and I don’t want to spoil it.

Most anticipated release for the second half of 2021:

It has to be She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, and I will cry if it doesn’t live up to the pedestal I have built for it in my mind.

Biggest disappointment:

I’ve read a few books I wished I loved more than I did this year, but in terms of the cover: content ratio, unfortunately I have to pick The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. Please don’t let that stop more publishers putting BIPOC girls front and centre.

Biggest surprise:

I thought A Dowry of Blood by S. T. Gibson would be good, but I wasn’t expecting it to be a 5-star read that blew me away with its unique approach to the story of Dracula (even if we’re not calling him that).

New author:

Hench didn’t quite make my list of faves, but I will pick up anything else Natalie Zina Walschots writes, because she has a real knack for deadpan, cynical humour and I’m curious to see what she writes next.

New character:

Adam Parrish from The Raven Cycle. The Dream Thieves is my favourite book in the series and is definitely a story about Ronan Lynch, but Adam is the character I can’t stop thinking about, and I love his eggshell optimism, his journey towards self-respect and his desire to live life on his own terms.

Made you cry:

I don’t cry much at books, but I did occasionally get emotional about Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, which has one of the best depictions of living with grief that I’ve read in a very long time.

Made you happy:

Ten Thousand Stitches by Olivia Atwater is exactly the kind of story I like: a wholesome romance featuring kind-hearted, competent characters who deserve all the good things.

The most beautiful book you’ve bought:

I picked up a full set of Melissa’s Caruso’s Swords and Fire trilogy at the secondhand book store for the price of a single book (I’m yet to read them, of course) and the covers look absolutely splendid when lined up together – I love the striking colours.

Books you need to read by the end of the year

I’m focusing on a combination of r/fantasy bingo, book club books and ARCs for the rest of the year, but five books I know I’ll get to that I’m excited about:

  • Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
  • A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark
  • Blackheart Knights by Laure Eve
  • Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko
  • The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin (don’t judge me for how long it’s taken me to read this series)