How are we halfway through 2023 already? The passing of time is infinite and scary. Anyway, I’ve always wanted to do a mid-year book freak-out tag, and everyone has been yelling at me to talk about books (and write) more, so let’s dive in.
2023 Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag
How much have you been reading?
So, I’m slightly behind schedule on my reading. Usually, in June, I aim to have read 50 books already. Right now, I’ve read 42 books so far this year. But the month is still young, and I have time! It’s fine!
What have you been reading?
What haven’t I been reading is the real question. This year has been a mixed bag for genre; I’ve read everything from dystopian YA to horror to romance and even read two very hefty nonfiction books last month (one that included science! Who am I?).
As you can see by the graph below, I’ve read 15 5-star books and 22 4-stars. And no 1-stars yet, which is a miracle!
I just read a really amazing thriller, The Last Word by Taylor Adams, about an author taking revenge on a woman for rating his book one star. And I finally read Seven Days in June by Tia Williams IN JUNE, so I’m thriving.
I’m currently listening to Big Swiss on audiobook and it’s…a lot. It’s like a trainwreck, though, I can’t look away.
Best book you’ve read so far
I don’t have a clear ABSOLUTE favorite for this year yet – which is surprising.
But if I had to pick a favorite as of right now, it would be Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett. It’ll definitely be in the top 5 at the end of the year.
When I was a little girl, I not only believed that faeries were real, but I believed I secretly was one. So, this book really spoke to my inner child.
It’s about a professor at Oxford who is writing the first-ever encyclopedia about faeries and fairy lore. She goes to a small town in Norway to research the local Fae called The Hidden Ones, the most elusive of the Folk. However, the town is not happy to have her there, and, annoyingly, her handsome rival Wendall Bemblayy arrives and causes even more chaos in what was meant to be a simple research mission.
I read it in one sitting and loved every second of it. 10/10 would recommend. And the sequel will be set in Austria! Which maybe means she’ll pop by Switzerland! I can’t wait.
Best sequel you’ve read so far
I’ve only read three sequels this year, one incredible, one fine, and one so bad it put me into a reading slump for a month (spoiler: it was the Atlas Paradox – how the mighty have fallen).
The best sequel I’ve read is not really a sequel as it’s the 10th book in a series: Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan Mcguire. I look forward to these books every January. If you haven’t read the Wayward Children’s series, what are you doing with your life?
All the books are less than 100 pages and take you into the most magical story full of doors leading to different worlds, ala Alice in Wonderland. All the children end up at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, where children who come back from their door worlds go, most of them hoping and praying that their door will appear for them once more. Some books are set at the school, and some are set in the different students’ worlds.
Lost in the Moment and Found follows one of the characters we saw in the previous book, in a world where all the lost things go. It made me cry. Please read this! It’s so diverse and beautifully written. I never want this series to end.
Just going to leave you with the author’s note, which made me cry.
New release you haven’t read yet but want to
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang, which is about a white author who steals the work of her Asian rival after she watches her die and pretends to be ethnically ambiguous to get on the bestseller list.
It’s one of my most anticipated releases, and I am so excited to read it. But does anyone else put off reading a book you’re excited to read for fear of reading it too fast? That makes zero sense, but this is what’s happening with Yellowface.
R.F. Kuang is an evil genius. The Poppy War was so brutal, and Babel was one of my favorites (you either love it or hate it), so I expect nothing less from Yellowface.
I’ll read it soon, I promise.
Most anticipated release(s) for the rest of the year
Oof, so many good books are coming out in the second half of the year!
His last two books have been a major disappointment, so I’m BEGGING for a good one this time.
I love every thriller Ruth Ware puts out. It’s always an amazing, no-think, twisty time.
I’ve found a love for cozy, low-stakes fantasy. Legends and Lattes was truly no stakes, just about an orc opening a coffee shop. I cannot wait for the prequel!
Opinions by Roxane Gay
I would read Roxane Gay’s grocery list, so OBVIOUSLY, I will read her latest essay collection. I mean, duh.
A book that’s out of your comfort zone
TBH, I don’t have a comfort zone because I’ll read anything from any genre as long as it’s well written, but I’d say the closest thing to being out of my comfort zone was reading How to Survive a Plague by David France – which is about the AIDs crisis. France literally lived through the movement and the book goes back and forth between his personal experiences losing everyone around him to the science and history behind AIDs research.
Gay activists were dying, and the government was failing them, so they became scientists themselves. It’s harrowing and will make you angry (like I always hated Reagan, but I hate him even more now). And honestly, it was one of the most well-written and captivating nonfiction books I’ve ever read.
I would highly recommend it.
I had no idea how gruesome but also hilarious C&P would be. I literally laughed out loud multiple times.
New favorite author
Octavia Butler! I read Kindred for the first time this year and I want to read everything she’s ever written.
Underrated gems you’ve read recently
Hex by Jenni Fagan! I bought it in Scotland, and it’s a reimagining of the execution of Geillis Duncan, one of the many women killed for suspicion of being a witch in Scotland during the witch hunt.
I’ve only heard one or two people talk about it, and it’s a shame because it’s so well-written. It’s also less than 200 pages. Such a gem.
Books to read by the end of the year
How much time do you have? I have SO many books I need to finish this year; it actually is making me break out into hives just thinking about it. Can someone please pay me to read full-time? Because if I’m going to read every book I want to read, I need this to be my full-time job.
Anyway, here are 6 of the books I’m definitely going to be reading this year:
Everyone is talking about this book right now, and I need to know if it’s worth the hype. Will report back.
Mexican Gothic was one of my favorites, and now Silvia Moreno-Garcia is back with a book about ghosts, maybe werewolves, and definitely Nazis?
You all know I love books that intertwine two storylines throughout history, and that’s exactly what The Wind Knows My Name is – the story of six-year-old Samuel whose father disappears during Kristallnacht. Then he’s shipped off on a boat out of Nazi-Occupied Austria to New York alone. The story of a girl, who is stuck in an immigration camp in 2019 Arizona and finds out she has a relative who is the caretaker for the now eighty-something-year-old Samuel, linking the two lives. I have chills and cannot wait to read it.
I didn’t love In My Dreams I Hold A Knife but I did love Winstead’s writing so I’m hoping I love her latest novel!
I have no idea what this is about, really and I want to go in blind.
All of Steven Rowley’s books have been five stars and have made me cry, so I can’t wait for my annual Rowley sob fest!
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