Mid Year Freak Out Tag 2021

Hi everyone! It’s time for me to do the Mid Year Freak Out Tag once again. I can’t believe we’re already over halfway through the year but I have to say I’m super proud of my reading so far this year! I aimed to read 100 books over the course of 2021, which was highly ambitious for me. However, I’ve already read 96 books (I know, I’m shocked as well), so naturally I’m super happy with that!

The original creator of this tag is linked here on YouTube. I also made a BookTube video of me going through this tag so you can watch it in video format if you would like to down below.

Best book you’ve read so far this year

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Goodreads | Waterstones

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.
One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.
Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

I chose two books, one graphic novel and one prose novel. But I just had to include Mooncakes because it was such a cute, diverse book with such gorgeous illustrations.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

This one was a major surprise for me, as although I knew I’d like it, I had no idea I would fall for it as hard as I did. The relationship in this one really reminded me of my own relationship, which is why I loved it so much and it made me so emotional reminiscing about me and my boyfriend getting together!

Best sequel you’ve read so far this year

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I had to throw this one in here even though it was a re-read for me. Crooked Kingdom is my favourite Leigh Bardugo book and I adored it even more on my second read.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I thought I would also include my favourite sequel that wasn’t a re-read, and I chose Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco. This is the final book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series which I buddy read with two friends over December and January. This one was my favourite book in the series, and I’d like to thank Amy for getting me into this series!

New release you haven’t read yet but want to

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Goodreads | Waterstones

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

I liked Red White and Royal Blue but didn’t really understand the hype around it. This one sounds much more up my street and I really want to pick it up soon!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.

I recently received this one after months of waiting for it to arrive, and I really want to pick it up this summer as it sounds like the perfect summer thriller!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Even though I still haven’t read Blood and Honey, I loved Serpent and Dove so much that I couldn’t not include this one. Also, look at that cover!

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Goodreads

Maxine and Jonah bump into each other in the canned goods aisle of the grocery store just as the state of California is going into lockdown, when everything changes completely. Could there be a worse time to meet? Max’s part-time job at a supermarket is about to transform into a hellish gauntlet. Jonah’s preexisting anxiety is about to become an epic daily struggle. As Max, Jonah, and their friends live together but apart through hijinks, humanity, and heartbreak, Hello (From Here) cuts across urgent matters much bigger than a teenage crush. Differences of class, privilege, mental health, and sacrifice are thrown into stark relief by the profound and personal stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. As thoughtful, probing, and informed as it is buoyant, romantic, and funny, Hello (From Here) looks at the first two months of the quarantine and adds falling hopelessly in love to the mess. 

I’m unsure how I feel about books inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic as we are still in the thick of it, but this one intrigues me so much. I also love how reflective it sounds of real life experiences I’m sure a lot of people have had in lockdown!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her.
Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. Unsure about who she wants to become and still reeling in the wake of the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, she’s heading back to the music festival that changed his life in hopes that following in his footsteps will help her find her own way forward.
When the two arrive at Farmland, the last thing they expect is to realize that they’ll need to join forces in order to get what they’re searching for out of the weekend. As they work together, the festival becomes so much more complicated than they bargained for, and Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other, and music, more than they ever could have imagined.

And I also wanted to shout out this one, which I believe is already released in the UK! I really liked You Should See Me in a Crown and I definitely want to pick this up.

Biggest disappointment

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Goodreads | Waterstones

There are two sides to every story….
You know Bella and Edward, now get to know Beau and Edythe.
When Beaufort Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic.
What Beau doesn’t realize is the closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back….

This one was an absolute no-brainer. I really hated this book and it ended up being my worst of all time. You can see my video about it here and my written review here where I go into much more detail!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Olivia and her twin brother, Aidan, are heading alone back to Earth following the virus that completely wiped out the rest of their crew, and their family.
Nathan is part of a community heading in the opposite direction. But on their journey Nathan’s ship is attacked and most of the community killed. Only a few survive.
Their lives unexpectedly collide. Nathan and Vee are instantly attracted to each other, deeply, head over heels – like nothing they have ever experienced.
But not everyone is pleased. And surrounded by rumours, deception – even murder – is it possible to live out a happy ever after . . . ?

Although I didn’t dislike this one as much as Life and Death, I still found it highly problematic and disappointing. You can read my review here.

Biggest surprise

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The Carls just appeared.
Roaming through New York City at three AM, twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

On a much more positive note, I finally read this one after owning it for what feels like forever and I absolutely fell in love with it. You can read my 5-star review here.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When Father goes away with two strangers one evening, the lives of Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are shattered. They and their mother have to move from their comfortable London home to go and live in a simple country cottage, where Mother writes books to make ends meet. However, they soon come to love the railway that runs near their cottage, and they make a habit of waving to the Old Gentleman who rides on it. They befriend the porter, Perks, and through him learn railway lore and much else. They have many adventures, and when they save a train from disaster, they are helped by the Old Gentleman to solve the mystery of their father’s disappearance, and the family is happily reunited.

I’ve found classics hit and miss as I’ve been reading more this year, but I listened to the audiobook of this one while driving around the English countryside and I really enjoyed it. You can read my review for it here. I also loved Anne of Green Gables!

Favourite new author

I have a few new favourite authors because of reading and loving their books, including Hank Green, Mary H.K. Choi and Elle McNicoll, who I haven’t mentioned yet but is the author of A Kind of Spark and Show Us Who You Are. I recently read Show Us Who You Are (review here) and gave it 5 stars, I loved it so much. I have A Kind of Spark to read very soon, which recently won the Waterstone’s Childrens Book Prize!

New favourite character

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?
Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner..

These two aren’t new favourite characters, but I did re-read the Heartstopper graphic novels and read the fourth volume for the first time, and I just adore them. I couldn’t resist shouting out Nick and Charlie!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

I also can’t say Nina is necessarily a new favourite as I re-read these books, but I did read Rule of Wolves for the first time and her appearances in King of Scars and Rule of Wolves made me like her even more.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Little Women is one of the best-loved children’s stories of all time, based on the author’s own youthful experiences. It describes the family of the four March sisters living in a small New England community. Meg, the eldest, is pretty and wishes to be a lady; Jo, at fifteen is ungainly and unconventional with an ambition to be an author; Beth is a delicate child of thirteen with a taste for music and Amy is a blonde beauty of twelve. The story of their domestic adventures, their attempts to increase the family income, their friendship with the neighbouring Laurence family, and their later love affairs remains as fresh and beguiling as ever.

I fell in love with all of the little women when I first watched the 2019 movie adaptation, but I read the book for the first time this year and fell in love with them all over again – especially Jo!

Books that made me cry

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I think I will cry every time I read the Grisha books, but especially this one!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.
Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.
When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.

I also wanted to include one that made me cry that wasn’t a re-read, and this one gave me tears in my eyes for the final couple of chapters because I was rooting for the characters so much!

Book that made you happy

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Goodreads | Waterstones

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.
One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.
Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

I don’t think I have to explain as this one was a favourite of the year, but the characters and illustrations just make me so damn happy!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Things aren’t going great for Archie Albright. His dad’s acting weird, his mum too, and he all he wants is for everything to go back to normal, to three months before when his parents were happy and still lived together. When Archie sees a colourful, crumpled flyer fall out of Dad’s pocket, he thinks he may have found the answer. Only problem? The answer might just lie at the end of the rainbow, an adventure away. 
Together with his best friends, Bell and Seb, Archie sets off on a heartwarming and unforgettable journey to try and fix his family, even if he has to break a few rules to do it…

I also loved this one – such a heartwarming and diverse middle grade read from back in February. This one was adorable!

The most beautiful book you’ve bought (or received) so far this year

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I just had to mention this one somewhere – I finally managed to find this edition after years of searching for it. It cost me a small fortune but makes me happy every time I look at it!

What books do you need to read by the end of 2021?

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When the lift cranks open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone – an army of boys welcomes him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they’re there, or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to find out.

I don’t have too many specific goals for the rest of the year – but I’d like to knock off some series (The Maze Runner being the highest priority as I want to get it off my shelves!) and I want to carry on reading at least one classic every month.

Favourite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen so far this year?

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I would love to shout out Shadow and Bone for being the most amazing TV show adaptation – and I’ve also been watching Love Victor with Mark on Disney+ and we’ve been enjoying that a lot too! As far as movies go though, I have to say this one. All of the Lara Jean movies give me a lot of comfort and I feel like they work so well as adaptations.

Wow! That was a long post. Congrats (and THANK YOU) if you made it this far. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed putting this one together!

Which books would you provide as your answers? Let me know in the comments!

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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2 thoughts on “Mid Year Freak Out Tag 2021

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