2020 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

I cannot believe that we are already in July. The pandemic really messed with time because these last few months have flown by. I regularly have to check my phone for the day of the week. And then double check because my brain feels like it is playing tricks on me. I am so excited to participate in the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag, created by booktubers Read Like Wildfire and Earl Grey Books. I know a lot of people have been reading more than usual, but I’ve been pretty consistent in my reading, but I will take that as a win. Let’s take a look at my favorites so far…Covers below are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2020?

I am not even going to pretend that any of you will be surprised by this pick. I have been singing Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s praises for years and have been pushing Mexican Gothic for months. This book literally revived my love for horror. If you enjoy novels with creepy atmospheres, strong characters, and a storytelling that keeps you up at night, this is the one for you. You can read my review here.

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2020?

I have not read a ton of sequels this year but both R.F. Kuang’s The Dragon Republic (read my review here) and S.A. Chakraborty’s The Kingdom of Copper were stellar (read my review here). I am scared of both of the final books in these series.

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To?

I know A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Rosanne A. Brown has only been out for a month and a half, but it is one of my most anticipated 2020 releases, so I kind of feel guilty about not getting to it yet.

4. Most Anticipated Release For Second Half of 2020?

I am so stoked for Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia. I just got approved for an eARC of this one and cannot wait to read it, ah!!!! I am also one of the cohosts for a readathon of these authors’ work if you would like to join. Head over to the Meteor Shower Readathon Twitter account here for more info.

5. Biggest Disappointment?

Wilder Girls by Rory Power let me down big time. I had heard that not a lot of people loved it, but I still went into it with high hopes because I know people don’t often rate horror novels high. In the end, I wanted more from it. You can read my review here.

6. Biggest Surprise?

I don’t read a whole lot of non-fiction books, but this year I have been picking up more than usual. I really enjoyed Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s memoir, Children of the Land. It was deeply moving and deserved more attention than a certain fictional book that still ended up on the NYT bestseller list despite all the concerns by Latinx authors and readers. Forever bitter. Read my review of Children of the Land here.

7. Favorite New Author?

Claire Kann, Claire Kann, Claire Kann!!!! I had the pleasure of reading two Claire Kann books this year. Let’s Talk About Love (read my review here) is about a Black biromantic, ace teen finding her way in the world. I loved Alice to pieces and she’s become one of my favorite protagonist’s ever. If It Makes You Happy is about a queer, fat Black girl who finds herself queen of her small town’s pageant. If you haven’t read Claire Kann you are missing out on some of the best and most precious protagonists and swoons galore.

8. Newest Fictional Crush?

I know it’s technically from after mid-year, but I am going to name Zafir from Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert as my newest fictional crush. He is just so soft.

9. Newest Favorite Character?

Noemí Taboado from Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia stole my heart the moment her date asked for a kiss good night and she responded with: “‘I’ve got to run, but you can have a bit of my lipstick,’ she replied, taking her cigarette and putting it in his mouth.”

10. Book That Made You Cry?

I am trying to recall if any of the books I read this year had me in tears and it feels like it happened, but I don’t have any distinct memories. I am going to say Jade City by Fonda Lee because it may not have made me cry, but it certainly had me shouting in pain.

11. Book That Made You Happy?

Trying not to repeat myself, but the book that made me the most happy was probably Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love.

12. Favorite Book To Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year?

I don’t think I watched too many adaptations this year. At the top of my head, I cannot recall any, so I am going to take the opportunity to shout out my favorite K-Drama I watched this year. Crash Landing on You was an absolute delight. No other K-Drama this year has lived up to its perfection, so at some point I will probably rewatch it.

13. Favorite Review You’ve Written This Year?

I’m quite proud of my review of Mexican Gothic, which you can once again read here.

14. Most Beautiful Book You Bought So Far This Year?

No, I won’t name Mexican Gothic again, but let’s just say it was in the running. Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen. The naked hardback is incredible.

 

15. What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of The Year?

This question! How about I name a couple of ARCs I need to get to that I haven’t mentioned yet: Mark Oshiro’s Each of Us a Desert and Aida Salazar’s Land of the Cranes. Both of these are high on my TBR.

What’s your favorite book of 2020? What book are you most looking forward to reading before the end of the year? Leave me a link in the comments to your own Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag post, so I can visit.

Future Nostalgia Book Tag

I really want to get back to blogging on the regular, but if I’m being honest, I’ve been trying to do so the last couple of weeks with mixed results. I am so glad to have gotten tagged by Natalie @ The Fine Art of Reading (who is also the creator) for the Future Nostalgia Book Tag, based on Dua Lipa’s newest album. It gives me a chance to work on a new post and listen to some new music (yes, I did listen to the album while doing this tag). Let’s get to the prompts! Covers are linked to Goodreads.

1. FUTURE NOSTALGIA: a book with a strong female character

No matter what you do, I’m gonna get it without ya (Hey, hey)

(Future nostalgia)

I know you ain’t used to a female alpha (No way, no way)

(Future nostalgia)

I love that we are seeing more female characters who are strong in complex ways. I love a female character with a sword, but I also like books where characters are allowed to be strong based on their determination and resolve. One character who immediately comes to mind is Casiopea from Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. She has an unwaveringness to her that you can’t help but be drawn to, she’s able to bend but not break, and is not afraid to rise to the occasion even when the odds aren’t in her favor.

2. DON’T START NOW: a book with a major glow up

Did the heartbreak change me? Maybe
But look at where I ended up
I’m all good already
So moved on, it’s scary
I’m not where you left me at all, so

When I think of a glow up, I think of people getting those super cliche makeovers, but you know what I really love? I love when a book gives a character a chance to glow up on a personal level. This can mean different things to different people. I personally loved Lula’s arc in Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova. I will never forget how a certain scene made me feel when Lula finally chose herself over other people. So empowering.

3. COOL: a book with awkward moments or set in summer

When it’s only me and you
You got me, you got me losin’ all my cool
I guess we’re ready for the summer

There are books that give you second-hand embarrassment and just have you shaking your head at a character and then there are books that give you second-hand embarrassment and yet somehow manages to carve a place into your heart and insert said character. Claire Kann did this to me with Alice in her novel Let’s Talk About Love. I felt every embarrassing moment as though I were experiencing it myself and just loved Alice all the more for those moments.

4. PHYSICAL: a book with steamy romance

All night, I’ll riot with you
I know you got my back and you know I got you
So come on (Come on), come on (Come on), come on (Come on)
Let’s get physical

I don’t read a lot of romance books, but I did get a chance this year to pick up Talia Hibbert’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown. I really enjoyed how fun this book was and am looking forward to more books by her.

5. LEVITATING: a book with “moon” or “star” in the title

I got you, moonlight, you’re my starlight
I need you all night, come on, dance with me
I’m levitating

Two of my favorite books have the moon in them: Anna Marie-McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours and Aida Salazar’s The Moon Within. Both of these are some of the most touching books I’ve ever read, with gorgeous poetic writing and characters who will pull at your heartstrings.

6. PRETTY PLEASE: a book with characters who support each other

Put my mind at ease
Pretty please

One of my favorite things about Mia Garcia’s The Resolutions is that it centers a friend group. I love that they challenge each other from the very beginning and yet are always there for one another when they need it.

7. HALLUCINATE: a book with a fun or whimsical setting

Pocketful of honey and I’m ready to go
No, I ain’t got no money, but I’m letting you know
That I’ma love you like a fool
Breathe you in till I hallucinate (Mmm)

My instincts say to go with an Anna-Marie McLemore novel since I think every book by them has a kind of whimsical feel to it, but instead I will mention the graphic novel The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg, which is very fairy tale-esque.

8. LOVE AGAIN: a book where the MC proves themselves wrong

I never thought that I would find a way out
I never thought I’d hear my heart beat so loud
I can’t believe there’s something left in my chest anymore

Emoni from With the Fire on High is an easy character to admire. She’s going to school and at the same time raising a kid, but what I really loved about this book is that Emoni’s journey is her reclaiming her dreams. She set aside her dream to become a chef because she has a daughter and because she also has to help her abuela with expenses. I loved that Acevedo gives her MC an incredibly happy ending where all those dreams she has have a chance to come true.

9. BREAK MY HEART: a book where a character is afraid of happiness

I’ve always been the one to say the first goodbye
Had to love and lose a hundred million times
Had to get it wrong to know just what I like
Now I’m falling

There are so many tragic characters out there who don’t think they deserve happiness and I just thought of about twenty so I apparently have a thing for these sad figures. I am going to go with my beloved Amun from Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. Amun has never spared a thought for his own happiness. There are too many dark deeds he has taken part in and it isn’t until he meets Mehr that any part of him thinks he can be happy and even then he is willing to save her even if it means sacrificing himself. I am tearing up, oh my gosh.

10. GOOD IN BED: a book with characters who are terrible at communicating

You love to disappoint me, don’t ya?
You tell me what I want, but ain’t no follow through
You don’t follow through, no
But if you only knew me
The way you know my body, baby

I’m going to gently throw little Leo from the Love Sugar Magic series by Anna Meriano under the bus for a quick sec. I love Leo, she’s young and still learning how to navigate different relationships, so I don’t fault her at all. But my girl is so good at getting into trouble and then doing her best to keep it a secret from those who could probably help the most. I’m so sorry, Leo, love you!

11. BOYS WILL BE BOYS: a book with themes of feminism / equality

Sick intuition that they taught us, so we won’t freak out
We hide our figures, doing anything to shut their mouths
We smile away to ease the tension so it don’t go south
But there’s nothing funny now

Tehlor Kay Mejia’s We Set the Dark on Fire is set in a patriarchal world but centers two female Latinx characters, their romance, and the struggle to topple the reining regime.


I am tagging Jenna @ Falling Letters, Annemieke @ A Dance With Books, Michaela @ Journey Into Books, Karina @ 24hr.YABookBlog, and you! As always, you are under no obligation to participate but if you do, let me know so I can check out your answers!