Hello and welcome! Today I’m super excited to do the mid-year book freak out tag. I have no idea where this tag originated so sadly, I cannot credit anyone, but it’s something a lot of book bloggers do in late June and is a fun way to talk about the books you’ve read that year. (You can read my 2019 post here and my 2020 one here… they’re very cringy but that’s okay, it’s fun to look back and see how far I’ve come.)
Before we get to that, though, a quick announcement (which is literally in the title of the post): I’m taking a hiatus from blogging.
Actually, I kind of have been for most of the past few months anyway 🤷🏽♀️ I’ve been writing, and reading, and working, and prepping for college, and I haven’t had the time or motivation to blog. And, unfortunately, I don’t see myself finding either in the near future.
I don’t know how long I’ll be gone — I could return to blogging consistently this fall, or maybe it won’t be until January, or even next summer. HOWEVER. This does not mean I’m completely disappearing! I’m still going to be reading other people’s posts, and I will likely pop in here from time to time.
Basically, I’m just officially explaining what’s already going on 😌 I’ll be blogging randomly, so don’t expect to hear from me much on WordPress, but I’m not leaving and I still love it.
If you want more consistent content/updates from me, you have two options:
- my email list! I send out monthly life/reading/writing updates. It’s a ton of fun and I’d love to see you there!
- my Instagram! I just joined this platform and am still not sure what, exactly, I am doing, but expect occasional bookish/authorly posts and also very random stories.
Onward to the blog post!
Last year at this time I had read 77 books. This year I have read 36 books. That’s a gigantic difference that is mostly attributable to a) more time spent out of the house and b) a massive reading slump in April and May. I’ve savored each book a great deal more and am totally fine with my slower pace this year. Reading 75 books (my current goal) is still a large accomplishment, and I’m going to have to accept that I can’t read as much as I get older and more busy!
1 ⟡ best book so far
Not counting rereads, and trying very very hard to be objective…
There are three.
⟡ Rhythm of War, Brandon Sanderson ⟡ epic fantasy with unique and detailed worldbuilding, plots within plots that continue to grow more interesting and clever, characters you’ll connect to deeply, magic and science working together, cultures and races unlike anything I’ve seen in fantasy before, realistic mental illness rep, and a whole universe of backstories and hidden references to get lost in [read my review]
It will [get worse], but then it will get better. Then it will get worse again. Then better. This is life, and I will not lie by saying every day will be sunshine. But there will be sunshine again, and that is a very different thing to say. That is truth. I promise you…You will be warm again.
⟡ Thorn, Intisar Khanani ⟡ rich and detailed worldbuilding, beautiful descriptions, a relationship built on trust rather than initial attraction, subtle and quiet magic, a slow and contemplative plot that builds to a gorgeous finish, a distinct and lovely atmosphere, and a varied and intriguing cast of characters [read my review]
Each day I learn a little more of Menaiya… I learn the language of the stables: harness, lead rope, saddle. In truth, my days are filled with a quiet grace the likes of which I have never known.
⟡ You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love, Allie Beth Stuckey ⟡ reasonable, Biblical, simple, and hard-hitting truths than every woman needs to hear. if you are a Christian female, please read this book.
The yoke of the god of self is difficult and its burden heavy, but God’s yoke is easy and his burden light. What a relief to know we don’t have to expend our precious energy serving ourselves. We make terrible, unworthy gods.
2 ⟡ best sequel
The answer to this is obviously Rhythm of War, but I’ll also give a shoutout to Lindsay Franklin’s Weaver trilogy.
I didn’t particularly care for The Story Peddler, but I persevered through the series and enjoyed each successive book a bit more. The last book (The Story Hunter) had some moments I really enjoyed. Though it isn’t among my favorite books this year, I’m impressed with the author’s improvement and look forward to reading more of her work. [read my review]
How do we become who we are? Is it written in the stars, carved into the foundation of the earth itself, woven into the fabric of time? Or are we molded, shaped, hewn by our experiences?
3 ⟡ new release you haven’t read yet, but want to
Jenna Terese’s Ignite releases next week and I’m hoping to read it this year! I’ve technically had access to the book for a bit (thus why I’m counting this as a new release) but I didn’t have enough time to read it 😦
The Theft of Sunlight (a companion to Thorn) just released in March and I actually have a copy on my desk right now!! So so excited to begin it.
Jordan Peterson’s Beyond Order also came out this year. I really admire his work and would like to read this one.
And Andrew Klavan’s The Emperor’s Sword, another March release, is the third in a trilogy I’ve been reading. Just waiting for my library to get a copy (I don’t like the books quite enough to buy my own copy).
4 ⟡ most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Besides Ignite, I’m also looking forward to E.K. Seaver’s debut The House That Didn’t End and the third Skyward book, Cytonic! Kara Swanson’s Shadow is releasing in July, the fifth Dragonwatch is coming in October, and….
Excuse me for a moment while I gather myself.
THE LAST ENDER/SHADOW BOOK IS COMING OCTOBER 19.
The book I didn’t think would ever be published.
The book I have desperately wanted for years.
The book that could either totally wreck or completely save the Enderverse for me.
I think we have an answer to the question, folks.
Orson Scott Card’s The Last Shadow.
(Which I didn’t know existed until today.)
5 ⟡ biggest disappointment
I was very disappointed by The Princess Will Save You, which I expected to be a whimsical romantic pirate-y jaunt but was actually a gritty violent feminist muddle. (I’m quite fond of that phrase, actually. “Did you enjoy the book?” “Oh no, it was a gritty violent feminist muddle.”) [read my review]
If the truth undermines you, then your footing is nothing but quicksand.
6 ⟡ biggest surprise
I don’t think any books surprised me this year, but I was surprised by the ending of Little Dorrit (once I actually understood what was going on). I am hoping to watch the TV show but it is 16 episodes long so… I don’t know if I’ll get through it anytime soon.
Be guided only by the healer of the sick, the raiser of the dead, the friend of all who were afflicted and forlorn, the patient Master who shed tears of compassion for our infirmities. We cannot but be right if we put all the rest away, and do everything in remembrance of Him….There can be no confusion in following Him, and seeking for no other footsteps.
7 ⟡ favorite new author (debut or new to you)
Intisar Khanani! I love Thorn very much and can’t wait to read her other books.
I also got into Brandon Sanderson this year. I’d read the last three Wheel of Time, as well as Mistborn Era 1 and the first two Stormlight books, in 2019/2020, but I began to get invested in the cosmere this year. He may well be my favorite author of all time. I think Tolkien still holds that spot, but Sanderson is legitimate competition.
The cosmere may also be the only fandom with posters/art as different as this…
I seriously want to buy this shirt and see if it helps me make any cosmere-fan friends.
8 ⟡ new fictional crush
I’m sort of over having crushes on fictional men. However, Adolin Kholin (the Stormlight Archive) is the kind of person I would like to marry, and Nathaniel Thorn (Sorcery of Thorns) is dreamy if annoying.
9 ⟡ new favorite character
- Jorgen and Spensa (Defiant series)
- Alyrra and Kestrin (Thorn)
- Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas (Sorcery of Thorns)
- Owen (Into the Heartless Wood) (of whom no fanart exists)
- also Wit/Hoid (the cosmere), who was already my favorite in late 2020 and still reigns supreme
10 ⟡ book that made you cry
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis! I read it for the third or fourth time this year and was struck yet again by its genius and beauty.
The only difference [between dreams and reality] is that what many see we call a real thing, and what only one sees we call a dream. But things that many see may have no taste or moment in them at all, and things that are shown only to one may be spears and water-spouts of truth from the very depth of truth.
11 ⟡ book that made you happy
I reread The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, which made me incredibly happy, because it is such a powerful and well-told story with perfect illustrations and one of my favorite romances ever.
I’ve never thought of you like that. How could I? If you were any other woman, I could tell you I loved you, easily enough, but not you — because you’ve always seemed to me like a part of myself, and it would be like saying I loved my own eyes or my own mind. But have you ever thought of what it would be to have to live without your mind or your eyes? To be mad? Or blind?
12 ⟡ most beautiful book you bought/received so far
I’ve only acquired three or four new books this year, and my favorite (and by far the most beautiful) is…
Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner!
“I think they have to show their worst selves sometimes in order to be sure that even at their worst they are loved. Irene knows how frightened he is.”
The King didn’t sound frightened.
“Any minute,” said Eddis, “he will realize –“
As if her words were magic, silence fell in the tent and Eddis finished in a whisper. “How frightened she is.”
13 ⟡ books you need to read by the end of the year
Ha. I make these lists every year and then… don’t read the books I list.
Anyway, here are some of the ones I’d like to read in 2021:
- Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (currently reading)
- a few more Wheel of Time books (I’m on book 4 in my reread)
- Red Rising plus some of the sequels (reread time!)
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
- The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
- “Emberwood” (alpha reading for a friend!)
- The Gift of Fire by Richard Mitchell
- The Augsburg Confession
- The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
- Echoes of Light by Rebekah Noelle Rosamilia
- The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
- new releases (see above)
- maybe: Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, Fable by Adrienne Young, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
- books for college (including The Nichomachean Ethics by Aristotle and Founding Father by Richard Brookhiser)
Will I read them all?
That’s all for today, my friends! Thank you for reading all about my literary endeavors this year. Feel free to “steal” this tag for use on your own blog or email list!
I’ll see you around.
Until next time (whenever that may be), remember:
courage, dear heart. all you can do is make the most of the time that is given to you. so fear no evil, because
Soli Deo Gloria