The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2020)

Holy wow, I honestly can’t believe that it’s already mid-year. Time is a funny thing normally but in 2020 it’s just outrageous, as the year itself has been! The year got off to a pretty strong start despite quickly falling sick towards the end of January (it wasn’t corona!) after which everything basically spiralled downward and that’s when my reading really tanked. With all the negative energy that has been projected worldwide, it’s a miracle I managed to read anything at all, but I’m thankful I had the blog tours (the majority of which will no longer be mentioned!) to keep me motivated and reading. This year I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 100 books and despite it all, I think I’ve done quite well and I’m even 27 books ahead of schedule.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people do this tag lately and so of course I’m hopping on board too albeit a little late. I did my first mid-year freak out tag in 2019 and it was fun to look back and see what was and wasn’t making my hit list last year. So before I go off on another long-winded spiel, let’s check in to see what my 2020 reading is looking like right now!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

This is probably (obviously) the hardest question. I am really torn because I’ve had a surprising number of amazing reads so far, but I think I’m going to pick Words in Deep Blue. This sent me on a wild rollercoaster of emotions and it was endlessly quotable. I think this is such an underrated gem and you can read my review here. Now I’m going to cheat a bit and mention my other top contenders: The Kinder Poison, The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, Nevermoor and Vengeful.

Best sequel so far of 2020?

Surprising no one, I haven’t read many sequels so far this year but of the ones I’ve read I’m going to have to pick this great contemporary romance: The Guy on the Left. Let’s just say that after completely loving book one but really not loving the character who would be our hero in book two, I was shooketh to read it and love it perhaps even more than the first! If you like romance, second chances, slow burns, and some deliciously steamy encounters, do yourself a favour and pick this up!

new release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

Eherm… Now where do I even start? (I’ve got those *shame bells a la GoT* ringing in my head!) This hasn’t been a super great year for me reading outside of my blog tour reads so there are plenty to choose from, ha! But I’m going to go for Beach Read because 1) It was released on my birthday, 2) I’ve heard countless praises for it and 3) I’m hoping to read it this summer (loose use of the term as it’s perpetually summer in the tropics)!

Most anticipated release for the second half of 2020?

Another one that’s super difficult to narrow down because there are so many amazing releases and I can’t choose? But also, my latest TTT post was about this so you can check out my list of top ten most anticipated releases (although in reality there’s obviously plenty more)! I’m currently reading an eARC for one of my most anticipated reads: Unravel the Dusk, and though it’s still early days I’m loving it!

biggest disappointment?

It hurts me just as much as it might hurt you for me to say this but my biggest disappointment was The Toll, the third and final book of the amazing Arc of a Scythe series. I was just… Expecting more and it really fell short. While I did still enjoy what we were given, it wasn’t the series ending that I thought we would get and I feel the story deserved to end on a much better note! But anywho, those are just some of my thoughts but you can read all my thoughts in my review!

biggest surprise?

It’s for definitely going to be the Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend. I wasn’t expecting to fall head over feet in love with a MG fantasy this year but wow, I loved the books in this series so much! If you’re looking for something that will make you nostalgic for your days reading Harry Potter as a kid this is the book you should read! But it also has so much more to offer. It has an incredible world, quirky and hilarious characters, a feisty MC in Morrigan Crow and a villain who I feel falls more on the morally grey scale (albeit the darker side) than on the pure evil scale? (maybe that’s just me though) TL;DR: Read it! You won’t regret it!

Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)?

I’m so torn! It’s so hard for me to choose because as I’m going to be repeating over and over again, I’ve read so many great books so far in 2020! But… If I had to choose I’d pick Jessica Townsend because her Nevermoor series is seriously going to be one of my all time favourites. Funny that, last year I picked Jane Harper, who is also an Aussie author like Jessica! The Aussie’s are hitting it big 😍

newest fictional crush?

Ugh why do I torture myself? Hmm… I can’t decide so I’m going to cheat and give you three of my new fictional crushes. I’m choosing Ryder from Only When It’s Us, Reid from Love Lettering, and Zach from Let’s Get Textual. If you’ve read any or all of these, I guess you might figure I have a type 🤣 All three had me swooning throughout these reads and I loved every minute of it!

newest favourite character?

I going with Maia Tamarin from Spin the Dawn for this one. I love her spirit and her fierce determination to see that her family suffers no more loss than they already have. She puts family first and works countless hours to achieve her goals and honestly, she’s such an admirable character. I’d often forget her age because she has a maturity to her that made her relatable to me.

I kind of want to cheat a little and given an honorary shout to Zahru from The Kinder Poison because she’s feisty, full of snark and although her naïveté sometimes drove me a little crazy, she was a fierce character (who can also talk to animals!) that brought me so much joy!

Book that made you cry?

The question should be: what book didn’t make me cry?! Hah. Kidding… Sort of!

No, but in all honesty the book that really hit me hard in the feels and made those angry/sad silent tears stream down my face was The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones. So relevant with everything that’s happening in America right now and I think a good introduction to difficult topics for younger readers written by an own voices author. Don’t let this one pass you by, friends! If you’re curious to know more, check out my review.

Book that made you happy?

Okay but all of the books I enjoyed made me happy in some kind of way? I’m a ‘laugher’ so it really doesn’t take much to make me laugh. I’ve laughed through a lot of the books that I’ve read this year but the most recent one was Walk of Shame. Although it wasn’t my favourite romcom I had a really good time laughing at and with our characters.

favourite book to movie/tv adaptation that you saw this year?

Okay this is kind of weird to admit but… I don’t think I’ve watched any book/movie/show adaptation this year? I actually can’t remember the last time I watched a movie/show I read the book of and it has also been a while since I’ve actually sat and watched something thanks to books and ACNH. But if there’s one show that I think will be a favourite (if I do get to watch it!) and it’s Normal People. The book has weirdly and unexpectedly become a favourite and I really like the look of the show!

favourite review you’ve written this year?

Hmm… This is tough but I think I’m going with my review for The Silence of Bones because I loved this book. It makes me sad that it’s one of the more underrated releases of 2020 because it honestly deserves so much more love and attention. You can tell how much work Hur put into that book with all the details about this dynastic period and it was fantastic! Check out my review for more about it but I really recommend it 😉

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

I actually have a few new gorgeous books on my shelves but I’m going with The Mountains Sing. I got my copy personalised and signed by the author as she was living in Jakarta at the time of the release, and that’s always a treat! This story felt like non-fiction and I felt as if I was hearing it being told to me first hand. Immersive and powerful! Check out my review to learn more about it.

what books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Omg if I actually listed what books I “need” to read by the end of the year we might be here forever. So I’m just going to mention a few (cough*twenty*cough) that I’m very excited to get my grabby hands on and that I’m really hoping will get read by year end!

I had a lot more fun doing this post than I thought I would. Granted I didn’t give myself too much time to dwell on my answers and I think that made it easier for me to do! Looking forward to seeing how the rest of 2020 goes… Have you done a mid-year freak out tag?
How are you doing with your reading? At the end of the day what matters most is that you’re enjoying yourself!

My Thoughts While Writing Book Reviews: Panic and No Disco!

I was looking through the posts sitting in my draft folder and came across this “Off Tangent Thoughts” post that I guess I never got around to sharing last year. I thought it was funny to see what I had written because even though I don’t think my thought process is as hectic as it was (such as when I was writing this post), I still do go through challenging moments especially when it comes to my memory and remembering what I read, even if I did just finish a book yesterday! So I thought I’d finally share this post today.

Off Tangent Thoughts (OTT) was a new meme hosted by Charvi @Not Just Fiction in 2019, but it has since been stopped due to a lack of time; that said, bloggers can still post about the prompts. OTT was a bi-monthly meme that has a basic list-based format wherein bloggers express their points in the form of a short or long list with the points under the list being merely a couple lines or even complete paragraphs. It’s about letting your thoughts run wild! The OTT prompt that I’ll be answering today is: Thoughts I Have While Writing Book Reviews. I’m going to start with when I open a new book because that’s when I *attempt* to start preparing for my review… Here we go:

  • Starting a new book: *makes new note on phone to write down thoughts while reading* Yeess, I’m so ready to read and review this book! I got this! 💪🏽
Continue reading “My Thoughts While Writing Book Reviews: Panic and No Disco!”

My Reading Tastes Over the Last Decade

As I’ve mentioned once or twice already, I’d like to bring more discussion posts to my blog this year. Discussion posts intimidate me because I’m not sure I have any worthwhile thoughts to share and I’m not particularly good at expressing myself well. That said, I’d like to give it a shot, so I’m kicking it off today by looking at how my reading tastes have changed over the last decade. I thought it was perfect timing and although I haven’t read as much in the last decade as I have in the last year itself, I do think my preferences have gone through some changes.

I just moved to Cambodia after living in Australia for five years and I was so happy when I discovered several secondhand bookstores where I discovered classic romance a la Nora Roberts. I also discovered my love for sci-fi with Michael Crichton, and realised I could read some Stephen King. I also dabbled briefly with Haruki Murakami but that didn’t last very long.

Continue reading “My Reading Tastes Over the Last Decade”

Bookish Thoughts: Why I Love My Kindle

Side note: I don’t normally do these posts because I don’t feel that I can convey my thoughts and opinions as well as other bloggers do. But I decided to take the plunge this week and I’m hoping it doesn’t fail lol I’d love to know if you enjoyed this post, so I know whether to try doing them more often!

As you can probably tell from the title 😏 today I want to talk about my Kindle and the reasons why I love it. I guess this topic really brings it back to the often discussed ebooks vs. ‘real’ books debate. I obviously still love my paperbacks and hardcovers, but I can’t deny the many advantages that my Kindle gives me, especially as an international reader.

And so the story goes…

Here’s a little backstory: I got my first Kindle the Christmas after I finished my MA degree in 2012. I was slated to finish with a 2:1, which isn’t a distinction but I’m not the best student and I was honestly just elated that I managed to complete my degree! Lmao. Obviously this meant treating myself, but my partner at the time beat me to it and got me the First Edition Kindle for Christmas. It was probably one of the best gifts I’ve ever received! But that was 2012 and since then, I’ve moved on to the Kindle Paperwhite (2015), followed this year by the latest model (2018), which I was “forced” to upgrade to when an unfortunate accident involving my backpack, laptop and Kindle, rendered the 2015 model dead. Sad times, but we don’t talk about it! 💔

Basically, it’s waterproof (but not exactly stupid proof)! Sorry, I’m mean…

I was really tempted to get the Kindle Oasis because it’s a beaut, and I use my Kindle often enough to justify the hefty price tag, but I still couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m hoping that *somebody* is going to take a hint that I want it and purchase it for me on my birthday or Christmas/New Year though. Who knows! But the newest Kindle Paperwhite is still pretty awesome. It’s practically got 90% of the Oasis features, it’s just bigger (same size as the OG Paperwhite), and half the price!

Let’s talk about love…

There are so many things to love about the Kindle. To state the obvious, it pretty much fits in every bag. I have this tiny Herschel backpack that won’t even fit flip flops, but my Kindle fits perfectly in it! I can conveniently take it everywhere. Sometimes I just don’t want to take paperbacks/hardcovers with me when I go out because they add quite a bit of weight to my bag and I’m so lazy. Plus, I usually fly a lot for work and reading on my Kindle means I don’t have to stop reading when they dim the lights on planes, and I don’t need two hands to read it while standing (i.e. waiting in queues). Not to mention you can have HUNDREDS of books with you at all times and you don’t need more shelf space. I mean, what’s not to love about that?! This indulges the mood reader in me as I can easily browse through the many unread books *coughcough* on my Kindle library and switch to different reads if I’m not feeling it with the ease of a few taps. Another great thing is that I can highlight all the passages and have it automatically stored and linked to Goodreads, which makes finding the important bits super easy to find come review time. I can even share my highlights on Goodreads if I wanted to.

But the best thing about having my Kindle is that I can get so many of the latest releases, more obscure backlist books, and e-ARCs. Living in Indonesia means the newest releases don’t come out until they’re no longer “new”, if they ever release in stores at all. Sure, I can pre-order or get them online, but living on the other side of the world means that books take 2-4 weeks, sometimes longer, to reach me and my impatient ass just can’t deal with that–even if sometimes I don’t read my newest buys right away. But… that’s a different story you can read on my TTT post about avoiding books on my shelves. Yes, even the ones I’m so desperate to get! As for ARCs, well, I can just forget about ever getting physical copies, but I can at least get the e-ARCs on my Kindle. WINNING! 👏🏽

Missing out?

So what am I missing out on when I’m reading on my Kindle? I honestly don’t have a very long list! I mean, it’s definitely not the same reading experience as holding a book, flipping pages and inhaling the new/old book smell; but there are worse things. Also, if I really love an ebook, I usually also want to add it to my physical shelf, so I end up having double copies and that also means bye-bye money (my savings get so sad)! Something that does annoy me about my new Kindle is that the battery runs out much faster. I don’t know why, since I don’t even use the bluetooth feature; but again, it’s not a big deal because it charges quickly!

So was this post basically just an endorsement for the Kindle? Yes. Yes, it was, but I really love my Kindle Paperwhite and I couldn’t imagine my life without it, especially because I would definitely be reading a lot less!

Do you have a Kindle? Do you also love it as much as I love mine? And if you don’t, would you get one or are ebooks not your jam?

Reading Update: GR Summer Reading Challenge (June-July)

I posted about joining the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge earlier in June and as is pretty standard with my lazy ass, I have been really horrible at tracking my progress. Honestly, I’m just really bad at keeping up with challenges, lol–it’s not so much the reading that’s a struggle for me but the tracking (excel files hate me as much I hate them). But I’ve been thinking about the challenge lately because I just finished reading one of the books on my list and I was wondering how I’ve done so far. If you want to see a recap of what books I set for the challenge, check out my original post!

what I’ve finished so far:

Short & sweet: Read a book with less than 100 pages (or a book you can finish in one sitting) – The Woods, Vol. 1: The Arrow by James Tynion IV | (my review)

On the bandwagon: Read one of the most read books right now on Goodreads & New voices: Read a debut novel – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens | (my review)

In the friend zone: Read a book that a friend has recommended – The Flatshare Beth O’Leary | (my review)

It takes two: Read a co-authored book – Autoboyography by Christina Lauren | (my review)

Armchair traveler: Read a book set in a destination you want to visit – The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Seeing as how I’ve not ‘intentionally’ read these books over the last month, I’m happy to see that I’ve almost ticked off half of the challenges. I still have a ways to go but hopefully my confidence isn’t misplaced when I say that I think I can complete this challenge 😃 The only book I’m nervous about picking up (again) is The Goldfinch because its been sitting half-unfinished on my shelf since February. I started it for a group/buddy read but it was admittedly the worst reading month–my book slump was epic and trying to force myself to get through this wasn’t ideal. BUT I’m hoping to get it read before the movie comes out this September. The trailer is beautiful and I’m so excited to watch the movie; plus, it’s also really good motivation to finish the book!

Are you participating in the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge?
If you are, how’s your reading progress coming along?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

If I Joined the Reading Rush…

Over the last week I’ve been seeing so many people in the book community talking about The Reading Rush. If you’re like me and have never heard of this challenge before, here’s a little bit on what it’s about:

“The Reading Rush is a week long readathon for book lovers all around the world. For one week readers gather together to read as much as they possibly can and to participate in challenges and giveaways online. Starting in 2019 the Reading Rush introduced a website, in order to allow anyone taking part in the readathon to track their reading statistics and come together in a central place. The Reading Rush started as the “BookTubeAThon” in 2013.”

You can find out more and sign up on their website. So, this totally sounds like fun, right? When I read more about it and looked up the prompts, I immediately felt the urge to sign up and join in on the fun, but I’m really not so great with sticking to TBRs and completing challenges, plus I feel that work is going to be a little bit hectic next week so I felt apprehensive about committing my time when I’m not sure I could do it. That said, I also started to get excited thinking about what I’d choose, so I decided to do a post of what I’d be reading for The Reading Rush, if I joined. 😉


1/ Read a book with purple on the cover

Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

2/ Read a book in the same spot the entire time

Everyone’s an Aliebn When You’re an Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun
To be read on the couch in my reading corner at home!

3/ Read a book you meant to read last year

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

4/ Read an author’s first book

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

5/ Read a book with a non-human main character

Everyone’s an Aliebn When You’re an Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun
Yep, I’m doing a double for this read!

6/ Pick a book that has five or more words in the title

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

7/ Read and watch a book to movie adaptation

The Green Mile by Stephen King.
For some reason I’ve been thinking about this book/movie a lot lately. I still haven’t read the book and it’s been years since I watched the movie, but I remember how much I cried in the end.

Bonus/ Read 7 books!

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
If by some miracle I am able to finish one book per day(ish) and will be able to manage a seventh book, I’d pick this one to fulfill the prompt for a book with a non-human main character.

So there you have it, book friends! Books that I would read for The Reading Rush if I were to participate in the challenge! Honestly, I’m still really tempted to sign up and try even though I might only end up reading only two or a most three of these books! What do you think? Should I just say to hell with it and sign myself up?! 🙃

Are you joining The Reading Rush? If you are and you’ve posted about it, leave me a link in the comments. I’d love to see what books you’ve chose to do! Also leave me your username so that if I *do* sign up, I can follow you!

Most Anticipated Releases 2019 (Latter-Half)

Last week I missed one of the prompts I was most looking forward to answering for #TopTenTuesday: my most anticipated releases for the latter-half of 2019! I thought I’d still do it though, so it’s more of a “Top Ten Thursday” today. I don’t know about you but there are a lot more than ten books that I’m looking forward to towards the end of the year, so narrowing it down was a bit tough! Although I’ve been a voracious reader for years, I really threw myself into the book community with this blog and my instagram this year, so I’ve been more aware of what books are coming. 2019 definitely feels like an epic book year, and I’m looking forward to wrapping it up on a high bookish note!

Wilder Girls by Rory Power (July 9)
Goodreads Synopsis: It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her. It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim (July 9)
Goodreads Synopsis: Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job. Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise. And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (August 6)
Goodreads Synopsis: Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods. Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with? When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center (August 13)
Goodreads Synopsis: Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale #2) by Margaret Atwood (September 5)
Goodreads Synopsis: In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades. When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her—freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. 

The Ninth House (Ninth House Series #1) by Leigh Bardugo (October 1)
Goodreads Synopsis: Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The Butterfly Girl (Naomie Cottle #2) by Rene Denfeld (October 1)
Goodreads Synopsis: A year ago, Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she finds the younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of a strawberry field at night, black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life. The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets like ghosts, searching for money, food, and companionship. The sharp-eyed investigator soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found in the dirty waters of the river. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need—and the fear she sees in the eyes of a twelve-year old girl named Celia. Running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother, Celia has nothing but hope in the butterflies—her guides and guardians on the dangerous streets. She sees them all around her, tiny iridescent wisps of hope that soften the edges of this hard world and illuminate a cherished memory from her childhood—the Butterfly Museum, a place where everything is safe and nothing can hurt her. As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find echoes of themselves in one another, forcing them each to consider the question: Can you still be lost even when you’ve been found? But will they find the answer too late?

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (October 8)
Goodreads Synopsis: No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive. Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (October 22)
Goodreads Synopsis: Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak. During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good. Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman (November 5)
Goodreads Synopsis: It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver. In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

What are your most highly anticipated releases for the latter-half of 2019? Any of these on your list? Come let me know in the comments!

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2019)

Happy Saturday, book friends! How is everyone doing? It’s been a helluva week and now that the big conference and presentation is over, I’m feeling so drained of energy and mostly relieved that I survived! I’ve pretty much been off the blogosphere/bookstagram world this whole week and I came back a lot of awesome posts to catch up on but also fun book tags such as this one!

I wasn’t tagged for this but I thought I’d do it anyway because it looked fun and it’ll help me get back into the blogging flow! I can hardly believe it’s already THE END OF JUNE. I’m shook by how quickly this year has flown. In terms of reading, it’s been a pretty good year although I’m looking forward to reading many more amazing books in the latter half. I’ve pretty much already completed my 2019 Goodreads Challenge of 90 books (currently: 89/90) and I’ve already upped the number once (it was originally 75). I was wondering if I should up the number again, but I think I’ll just leave it now. Without further ado, here’s my answers for the 2019 mid-year book freak out tag!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2019?

This is a really tough pick. I have a Top 4 and I want to choose them all(?!) because I love them equally but for different reasons! But I think I will go for The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah because yeah, wow. You can read my review for it here.

Best sequel so far of 2019?

Okay, this is weird (and I also just realized it but) I haven’t actually read any sequels this year. There are a few that I’m dying to get to (eventually) but until now, I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary and historical fiction. Do graphic novels count though? Because if yes, then I’d definitely say Saga Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan!

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. This is another one with a lot of hype around it and I’m meant to be reading it right now as a buddy read, but I still haven’t got around to it!

Most anticipated release for the second half of 2019?

Oh, it is really SO HARD to choose just one but the first one that came to mind is The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman. That epic cliffhanger of an ending in Thunderhead shook me and I’m so curious to find out where we pick up, what has happened since and how things are going to be fixed–if they’re at all fixable!

Biggest disappointment?

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. This was my second read of 2019 and it just really didn’t work for me. There was a lot of hype around it and I still see a lot of people praising it, but it just wasn’t my jam! While I thought the way the story was told was creative and different from anything else I’ve read, it was also confusing, and slightly boring at times. Also, so many questions left unanswered at the end!

Biggest surprise?

Normal People by Sally Rooney. I read Conversations with Friends, Rooney’s debut last year and I hated it. Like, I passionately disliked it. It’s written in Rooney’s distinctive style, and I enjoyed that, but it was just the characters that I found had no redeeming qualities. I couldn’t stand them and it frustrated me the more I read! I didn’t think I’d read Rooney again, but when Normal People came out and was a huge hit, FOMO (and #bookstagram) made me buy it. I’m so glad I did–I loved it! You can read my full review here.

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)?

Jane Harper. I’ve gone on about her in a couple of posts already but honestly, her atmospheric writing just blows me away. Also makes me miss Australia (even though I never lived in the outback lol)! You can read my review for her book The Dry here.

Newest fictional crush?

Quan from the Bride Test by Helen Hoang. I really hope that Helen Hoang writes his book next because he deserves it! He’s the typical ‘bad boy’ with the tattoos, and the bad ass bike, but he’s such a sweet, caring softie when it comes to family. I’m so ready to read an epic Quan story! You can read my review for Hoang’s fantastic second book here.

Newest favorite character?

Kya Clark aka The Marsh Girl from Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The story of this girl was so heartbreaking but her strength and resilience in the face of all the adversity was amazing? Astounding? Simply mind blowing and I loved her character so much. She was so pure, and genuinely so good hearted and fiercely smart. Such a strong and amazing female lead! Review coming soon.

Book that made you cry?

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys. This book gutted me. I was so scared that the ending would be so much worse than it already was, but I’m glad that Sepetys gave us a spark of light to hang on to. Books set during this period of history never ever fail to make me wail like a baby!

Book that made you happy?

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren. This book was so funny, sassy, and just all around awesome. Hazel is such a quirky character and to be honest I’m not sure who I had more of a crush on — her or Josh. They were adorable and I’m pretty sure that my heart didn’t stop singing throughout this one! You can read my full review here.

Favorite book to movie/tv adaptation that you saw this year?

I honestly haven’t watched many movie/tv adaptations this year, although I know that I want to! The only one that comes to mind is The Umbrella Academy on Netflix. When I watched it I had no idea it was written and directed by Gerard Way, who my bestie and I was lowkey obsessed with during my uni/emo days! I haven’t read the graphic novel though, but the show was pretty fun.

Favorite review you’ve written this year?

Hmm… Probably my review for Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I related to the MC so much and I loved the serendipitous storyline and discussions about fate/destiny. That made writing this review pretty easy but also fun. Plus, I included one of my favorite quotes. You can read my full review here.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?

I’ve bought quite a few beautiful books this year and I’m so happy with all of them! I have to say though that The Binding by Bridget Collins is probably my most beautiful purchase. The jacket is already gorgeous but the naked cover and inside of the cover are also equally as beautiful.

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

There are so many books that I’d like to have read by the end of the year–literally the list goes on forever–but I definitely need to read Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

How has your reading year been so far? I’d love to see your answers for this book tag! If you’ve done it too, leave your link down in the comments below and let’s chat 2019 reading 🙂

Bookish Thoughts: Book Reviewers

Earlier today, I read a post about reviewers written by Ally @Ally Writes Things and it had me reflecting on my own thoughts about the subject. I really enjoyed Ally’s discussion post from last week about different types of reviewers. In it, she identified seven types of reviewers, and I think I’m a mix between two: ‘The Friendly Reviewer’ and ‘Easy to Please’. It’s funny how accurate these descriptions are for the different reviewer types. Check out her post to see if you can identify what type of reviewer you are!

Friendly + Easy to please Reviewer:

  • Is easily distracted by good writing
  • Only notices major issues when they’re pointed out by other reviews
  • “I thought the plot was boring and the characters were just okay, but I loved the writing. Four and a half stars.”
  • Will drag your favourite book if they didn’t like it, but will do it nicely
  • Honestly, even when they hate a book, it will be worded in the nicest way possible
  • Will still probably rate that book 2 stars
  • If they love a book, it’s just 600 words of them gushing non-stop about everything

This post actually brought back to mind something that I’ve questioned myself about over the last few weeks, and maybe it speaks to my insecurities as a somewhat new reviewer and blogger with little to no literary background other than my passion and love for reading. But sometimes I question whether I can call myself a “book reviewer” because I feel like about 80% of the time I’m only reflecting on how the book made me feel and what it made me think. Of course I do talk about the writing style, structure, pacing etc., but I don’t know much about the literary terms that are used to ‘critique’ books, so I tend to focus on what I do know.

The reason I thought of this is because I read someone comment that they also do the same thing (talk about how a book made them think/feel), but because of that they don’t consider themselves a book reviewer. That really got me thinking: does this make me any less of a book reviewer? I’ve only “recently” (read: one year) started to write reviews and one of the reasons I got this blog was to work on how I read and reflect on books. Maybe I’m biased (lol) but I don’t think it does because when you’re writing a review for a book you just finished, some of the elements you consider are how you felt connected to the storyline and the characters, whether that be emotionally, mentally or otherwise. Right?

What are your thoughts on this? Am I just letting my insecure thoughts consume me or have you ever wondered the same? Also, what type of reviewer are you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and let’s talk book reviews 🙂