Friday, July 28, 2017

Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag I 2017

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag was created by Chami from ReadLikeWildfire and Ely from Earl Grey Books a few years ago to recap your reading from the first half of the year and to anticipate for the upcoming half of the year.


Best book you’ve read so far in 2017? 

When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi was utter perfection. Whether you love Young Adult contemporary novels or not, I highly recommend reading When Dimple Met Rishi. It is an adorable YA contemporary novel that follows two Indian-American teens that attend the same summer camp because their families hope to arrange them into marrying one another. 

Dimple and Rishi were absolutely adorable together, they are one of my favorite YA couples. While both Dimple and Rishi are a year older than me and we have cultural differences, I was able to identify with both of them. I was able to relate to Dimple on her fears of moving forward and finding her own future. I was also able to relate to Rishi's torn future and expectations.

I cannot wait to read Sandhya's upcoming Young Adult releases, When Ashish Met Sweetie and From Twinkle, With Love. I highly recommend reading When Dimple Met Rishi. It is adorable, relatable, and my favorite book of the year so far. You can read my review of When Dimple Met Rishi here.


 Best sequel you've read so far in 2017?

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom is technically the only sequel I have read this year. I have read a couple companion novels, but none of them have been direct sequels. That is not to say that Crooked Kingdom is winning this category by default. I read both Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom this year and I loved them both. They were thrilling and heart-pounding reads that had me second guessing everything. 

I do prefer Six of Crows to Crooked Kingdom, but they were both enjoyable reads that I would gladly reread. I hope Leigh decides to expand the Grisha world further by creating another trilogy or duology. I would love to see the Six of Crows crew featured in them as well. Crooked Kingdom was a great sequel, but it was not the perfect closer. I loved that the plot was layered even more than Six of Crows and I also loved the progression of the character's relationships, but the ending was too open. It did not feel final or give me closure. You can read my review of both Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom here.


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

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee

My preorder of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, which was released June 27th of this year, came in the mail a couple weeks ago; however, I have yet to have the time to pick it up. All I know about it is that it follows two siblings and the brother's best friend as they journey through Europe. I have heard nothing but rave reviews for the book, but I unfortunately have other books to read first. I would like to congratulate Mackenzi for hitting the New York Times bestseller list earlier this month with The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.

I hope that I can read The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue before the beginning of the school year because I do not believe I will have much time to read during the school year. If you have already read The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, please let me know what you thought in the comments below. Also, please motivate me in the comments to read the other books I am obligated to read so I can finally get around to reading The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.


Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

They Both Die at the End
by Adam Silvera

One of my favorite books of this year was Adam Silvera's History Is All You Left Me, which you can read my review of here. I absolutely loved History Is All You Left Me and I am highly anticipating Adam's third YA release, They Both Die at the End, which is expected to be released September 5th of 2017.

They Both Die at the End takes place in the distant future where scientists have been able to predict when you will die. There is an app that connects individuals that will die on the same day. They Both Die at the End follows two boys that connect on the app and spend their last day together.

They Both Die at the End sounds like an extremely emotional read and I have heard nothing but rave reviews. Thankfully it's release is only a little over a month away. I cannot wait to have my hands on a copy, I know what I will be doing on September 5th.


Biggest disappointment?

by Leddy Harper

I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced digital copy of Silenced for review. The premise of the novel intrigued me and I was honored to be able to read it before the masses. However, it was a mess. I adored the first half of the story, but the second half was trash. The author should have completely scrapped the second half, rewrote it, or ended the novel half way through. 

The story follows the same characters throughout it's entirety, but I felt as though she mixed two different drafts together and the characters coincidentally had the same names and similar appearances. I dislike using the word hate when it comes to books because I feel that there is always something redeemable about a story, but I hated the second half of the story. The only reason I gave Silenced a two star rating is because I did enjoy the first half of the story, which I would have rated 4-5 stars on it's own. Please do not read Silenced. Even though I enjoyed the first half of the book, I would not recommend it. You can read my entire review of Silenced here.

#6 & 7:

Biggest surprise? Favorite new author?
(Debut or new to you)

North of Happy
by Adi Alsaid

I was fortunate enough to read an advanced copy of North of Happy this year and it shocked me. I had previously heard great things about Adi's other books, Let's Get Lost and Never Always Sometimes, but I did not realize how impactful North of Happy would be. North of Happy is deceptively cute and happy on the surface, but the book itself delves into loss, grief, and moving-on. It also has fun moments and features numerous recipes that you need in your life. North of Happy was a curve ball this year that I absolutely loved. You can read my full review of North of Happy here

North of Happy was the first book I read by Adi Alsaid, but it will most certainly not be my last. I am excited to read Let's Get Lost, which I own, and hopefully borrow a copy of Never Always Sometimes from my local library. I am excited to see what Adi releases next. North of Happy put him on my to-be-read radar. 


 Newest fictional crush?

Levi from 
The Color Project
by Sierra Abrams

The Color Project is Sierra Abrams' Young Adult debut and it is an extremely close second to When Dimple Met Rishi as my favorite book of the year. The Color Project is a unique and vibrant story that I absolutely fell in love with. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the blog tour for The Color Project, which you can read my post here

One of the best features of The Color Project is it's characters, particularly Levi. Levi is the creator of The Color Project. He is the main character, Bee's, love-interest. I absolutely adore them both together, but I have a serious crush on Levi. He is an absolute sweetheart and I love how easily he fits into Bee's family. Bee's father becomes the Dad Levi never had. Levi is precious and anyone would be lucky to have someone like him, not only in their life, but as their significant other. While I adore Levi, I must honorably mention Rishi from When Dimple Met Rishi, who I also developed a massive crush on. Rishi is a sweetheart as well and a hopeless romantic.


 Newest favorite character?

Inej from
Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows features a unique and diverse cast of characters that the readers instantly fall in love with. While I prefer some characters more than others, they are a great cast and I loved learning about each of them. Kaz and Inej are my favorite characters from the series, but Inej is my favorite out of the two. 

Kaz and Inej have both overcome different obstacles in their past and those events have helped shape the individuals they are. While overcoming their pasts would be difficult for anyone, Kaz allowed his past to make him a monster while Inej allowed her past to make her stronger. Obviously both of them have had to become strong characters in order to survive life in Ketterdam, but Inej has allowed her past to make her life purposeful in a positive way. She wants to help save those that were forced into situations they never wanted to be in. She wants to be the hero that she never had. I love her resilience and ability to move forward and help others that are in a place she once was. 


A book that made you cry?

History Is All You Left Me
by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me is an emotional journey and I cried on a couple occasions. History Is All You Left Me follows Griffin who is grieving for his ex-boyfriend, Theo, who he considers the love of his life. Griffin attempts to grieve for Theo by starting an unlikely friendship-of-sorts with Theo's boyfriend, Jackson. History Is All You Left Me is told in alternating chapters of the present and past. I was crying within the first chapter and the waterworks only got worse as the story began to unravel and the present intersected with the past. 

While it is a book that features a heavy topic, I never felt overly sad. The book was focused more on grieving and moving-on than loss itself. Every ending is always a beginning. I highly recommend reading History Is All You Left Me if you have yet to. I absolutely loved it and I cannot wait to read Adam's More Happy Than Not and his upcoming releases. You can read my full review of History Is All You Left Me here.


 A book that made you happy?

Salvaged (Saints of Denver #4)
by Jay Crownover

If you have been reading my blog for the last year or two, you probably know that I absolutely love Jay Crownover's Marked Men and Saints of Denver series. Salvaged was my most highly anticipated release of this year and I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy. Salvaged is the fourth and final book in the Saints of Denver series, the spin-off series to the Marked Men series. 

Poppy and Wheeler, the main characters of Salvaged, were two of my favorite characters from both series. The perfect end to the series is when they  finally receive their happily ever after. While I hope to see these characters revisited in the future, I am happy to let them go knowing that they are content and happy together. They deserved a future full of happiness and love, which they rightfully received. Poppy and Wheeler deserve nothing less. You can read my full review of Salvaged here.


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

Because You Love to Hate Me
Edited by Ameriie

Because You Love to Hate Me is an anthology in which authors are paired with a member of the BookTube community and the author is given a prompt, which was prepared by the BookTuber, to respond to. The anthology is focused on beloved infamous villains, hence the title, Because You Love To Hate Me. I am interested to see what villains will be included, whether they will be Disney villains, villains from other children stories, or other villains from pop culture.

I have yet to read the anthology, but it is absolutely stunning and features several of my favorite authors. I am interested to see if the beautiful cover art plays into any of the authors' stories. I love the color scheme, the use of font, and the flower itself. The cover designer did a fantastic job on it! Caz from the Little Book Owl on Youtube recently recreated the cover of Because You Love to Hate Me for a challenge during the Biannual Bibliothon, which you can watch here. I highly recommend doing so, it is a really cool video! If you have read the anthology, please let me know in the comments below which story was your favorite.


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

The Mara Dyer Trilogy
by Michelle Hodkin

I have read the first two books in the series, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Evolution of Mara Dyer, twice, but I have never been able to get myself past page two of The Retribution of Mara Dyer. I remember finishing The Evolution of Mara Dyer in 2013 and painfully waiting for the release of The Retribution of Mara Dyer as it got pushed back. 

I was, by no means, boycotting The Retribution of Mara Dyer. I automatically started it when my preorder came in the mail. I just have a problem reading some of the content that was featured within the first couple pages. I put the book down expecting to come back to it in a couple days, but I never did. 

I attempted to reread the series before I met Michelle Hodkin at Comic-Con last year, but I only made it halfway through The Evolution of Mara Dyer before Con craziness swallowed me whole. With the release of The Becoming of Noah Shaw, the first novel in the spin-off series, The Shaw Confessions, I need to finally finish The Mara Dyer trilogy and move on to The Shaw Chronicles. I hope to finish The Mara Dyer trilogy before the beginning of the school year.


 Favorite Book Community Member

You tell me!

One of the worst things I do (or is it not do?) is that I rarely interact with other bookish community members. I watch a couple BookTube videos and follow a few bookish people on Instagram, but I scarcely read blog posts. Considering my lack of involvement, I do not believe I have the right to choose a favorite community member. Please let me know in the comments below who your favorite book community member is and make some recommendations! 

I tried to share my love for the books I read this year as much as I possibly could. I minimized the overlap as much as I could, but it was hard not to in some cases. Please let me know your responses to these questions in the comments below or leave a link to your post if you have already done this post!

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