Books I need to read by the end of the year

Hi everyone,

It’s almost October which is SCARY because this year has just flown by and I’ve lost all track of time. For the last few months, I’ve been rather overwhelmed by ARCs and library books and I’ve been watching in horror as my owned TBR grows ever larger and it makes me feel so guilty every time I look at it. I’m aiming to finish all outstanding ARCs for this year this month, and then spent the last three months of the year trying to make some headway into my physical TBR! So to make this a little bit more official and help push me to meet my goals, I thought I’d make a post all about the books that I need to read before year end!

Books I got in 2019 and still have not read

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

The Outside by Ada Hoffmann

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Books I got before 2019 and still have not read (I’M SORRY)

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Boys Will be Boys by Clementine Ford

Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan

Most anticipated 2020 releases I need to read

The Empire of Gold by S.A Chakraborty

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson

The Mightnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

Random backlist books I’ve acquired this year

Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Pheeeew. There’s 19 books on this list, which works out at just over 6 a month which is completely doable. But I am doing some readathons and whether I’m actually in the mood to read these may hurt my chances, so I guess we’ll see if I managed these goals in December! By writing it down, I am making everyone hold me accountable! Think postive thoughts! I can do this!

Mid Year Freakout book tag!

Hi everyone,

It’s time for one of my favourite posts of the year: the mid year freakout book tag! Where we talk about our reading so far, our favourites and our….not so favourites, as well as what we’re looking forward to for the rest of the year. Thank you so much to Laura @ The Book Corps for tagging me!

1. Best book you read so far in 2020

So obviously I couldn’t choose just one (duh) so I have two very different books that I couldn’t choose between because they are just too different.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This book released 6 days ago and I still haven’t got my delivery notification which is making me really sad. I just want to see how beautiful this cover is in person! Mexican Gothic is a fucked up gothic horror that just about killed me. It follows Noemí after she recieves a letter from her cousin saying her husband is trying to kill her. Noemí travels to the distant High Place, an old, musty mansion in the mountains to find out what’s going on. And trust me, there is some fucked up shit going on.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

I read this book last month and it absolutely blew me away. I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t realise it would be quite this incredible. The way Felix Ever After talks about questioning your identity, the way it validated everything I feel was just amazing. Felix Ever After is a YA contemporary following trans demiboy Felix when he decides to catfish his bully for revenge.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

I haven’t read many sequels so far this year, but the three I did read were all so so epic and amazing and continued some of my favourite adult fantasy series: Jade War by Fonda Lee, The Kingdom of Copper by S.A Chakraborty and The Dragon Republic by R.F Kuang. But if I had to choose my favourite of these, I think The Dragon Republic wins! That book absolutely blew me away and killed me in all the best ways. The Poppy War was so epic and then this was just as epic and possibly even a little more so?!?! Either way, I’m absolutely dying to read the last book in each of these trilogies.

3. New releases you haven’t read yet but want to

Ummmmmmmm SO MANY. I feel like I’m very behind on new releases because I keep getting distracted by books from the library so I think I might need to stop getting library books for the next few months so I can just focus on my physical TBR. Here are a few new releases I’m most excited to read!

4. Most anticipated releases for the second half of the year

I’ll have a post coming in a few weeks with my top 10 releases for the second half of the year (if I ever manage to actually narrow it down to 10 books). But if I had to pick just one….

Believe me, no one is more shocked than me that I didn’t pick an adult fantasy.

5. Biggest disappointment

I’ve had several books this year that have really disappointed me, but I chose these four as these were the ones I was most excited for and thus the disappointment was greatest. These are all queer YA fantasies that everyone seemed to rave about. This might be more down to me on the outs with YA fantasy rather than these books, but as epic and brilliant as I think the concepts behind each of these books were (they all sounded so amazing?!), I thought the writing was really bad in all of these.

6. Biggest surprise

The Library of the Unwritten is definitely my biggest surprise of the year. I hadn’t heard much about this book before I picked it up at the library, so I went in thinking I’d probably get a decent adult fantasy but nothing hugely special. And fuck me, I was so wrong. This book is incredible?! Not only did it have the first on page pansexual rep I’ve ever read (and the fact it was a fierce librarian from hell was so validating), it’s also one of the most fun filled fantasies I’ve ever read. It was so full of snark and sass and made for one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had all year.

7. Favourite new author

I’ve found several authors this year whose books absolutely blew me away and I’m going to be following everything they write: A.K Larkwood (of The Unspoken Name) and A.J Hackwith (of The Library of the Unwritten) are two who come straight to mind. But I think for this question I have to say the author whose first book I read at the end of December last year, and 6 months later I’ve now read several others and have many more lined up: T.J Klune! I read Wolfsong in December, and have followed it up with his Tor releases this year The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries, but I have many more of his backlist to make my way through!

8. Newest fictional crush

I mean it’s not exactly ‘new’, but since I read The Dragon Republic this year, I’m counting it! Rin from R.F Kuang’s The Poppy War series is just such an incredible, badass, morally grey mess and I love her.

9. Newest favourite character

Okay so I when I started writing this post, I wasn’t going to mention any books coming out in the later half of this year so I could focus on ones I actually read in the first half of the year, but then I reached this question and I’m sorry but I can’t help it so you’re getting a book releasing in August that I finished about 8 hours ago because THIS BOOK. My newest favourite character is Cara from The Space Between Worlds. God, I don’t even know how to put into words how amazing she is, and how she completely wrecked me. This scifi better fucking get the praise it deserves when it releases because it is so bloody good.

10. A book that made you cry

I mean, technically this is also a book that releases in the second half of the year, but at least I actually read this one in the first half. I don’t think Klune fans will be at all surprised to see one of his books for this question. Klune writes in a way that literally has me laughing on one page and then sobbing the next and The Extraordinaries was no different. It’s a book about a boy who wants to be a superhero and will do anything to make himself extraordinary.

11. A book that made you happy

And to prove exactly what I just said, here’s another Klune book in the section that made me happy! You could honestly just switch these two books back and forth, because they are both so happy and joyful but also made me sob. The House in the Cerulean Sea really exemplifies the found family trope and follows Linus, a caseworker for magical youth, who is sent to audit a faraway orphanage where very powerful magical children stay.

12. The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey is absolutely gorgeous. Not only does it have that intricately detailed cover, but I also snagged a special edition of this book with stunning endpapers and sprayed edges and it is just so beautiful.

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

So, so, so many. The ones I’ve chosen to highlight here are ones I’m either:

a) particularly excited for but know it’s going to be highly painful and thus am scared to read (The Empire of Gold)

b) books that I’ve had on my TBR for aaaaages but have finally picked up a copy of (The Secret History and Empire of Sand)

c) books that have been on my physical TBR for over a year (my bad, I’m so sorry The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling & The Candle in the Flame, but this is your year!)

And that’s my year so far! I’m hope you’re having a good reading year. Anyone who wants to do this tag, consider yourself tagged!

Mid Year Freak Out Tag 2019

So this sounds like the most fun book tag ever!!

I first saw Katie over at Melting Pages post about the mid year book freak out tag and it looked so much fun (you can check out Melting Pages’ Book Tag post here). And then I read Bionic Book Worm’s (check it out here) who tagged me and gave me all the reasons to do this post myself!

Beware, indecisiveness below.

Book stats

I’ve read 45 books so far this year (four books more than my entire 2018 total) and my goal of 55 books looks like it will be easily met this year.

1 – The best book you’ve read so far in 2019

No surprises here, the best book I’ve so far is of course The Fever King by Victoria Lee. This book blew me away, I was an emotional wreck and couldn’t see all night after I finished it, I’ve reread it since, and I just want everyone to read this book! It’s a dystopian YA, combining element of sci fi and fantasy – where magic is caused by a virus that kills most of the population. It features diverse characters, some dark topics, and is just so fantastic!

Okay so we all knew that was going to be my favourite book – but I do want to also shout some of the other incredible books I’ve read this year.

2 – Your favourite sequel this year

I have read pretty much no sequels this year, so the book I’m going for is technically not a direct sequel, but a companion novel – Before Mars by Emma Newman. This is the third novel in her Planetfall series, each book is set in the same universe but follows different characters. Before Mars follows Anna, an artist who is sent to Mars to create art for her rich employer. But when she arrives, she finds a note in her own handwriting warning her not to trust the colony psychologist. The portrayal of mental illness in this book is phenomenal, and I really need to actually read the other books in the series now.

3 – A new release you haven’t read yet but really want to

And the indecisiveness begins! This is such a hard question, there’s so many I want to read. I’m really looking forward to Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley, which was sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read when I first wrote this post, but I did now start today! I’m also hugely excited to read The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg but I haven’t bought myself a copy yet, and The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling which is a little (read: LOT) more horror-esque than what I normally read but I’m trying new genres this year, so really want to see what it’s like.

4 – Most anticipated release(s) for the second half of the year

Ooooooh this is another really difficult question!! I literally have a notepad just for listing all the upcoming releases I’m excited for by month (and using pretty coloured pens) because my Goodreads organisation is beyond help so I needed a new place to keep track of upcoming releases. If I had to say just one, it would be Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir (lesbian necromancers anyone?!) but some others following in close second are Wilder Girls, I Hope You Get This Message, The Light at the Bottom of the World, and Crier’s War.

5 – Your biggest disappointment

I’ve had a fairly good reading year so far, very few lower rated books, but I think the one I’m most disappointed in would be Rosewater by Tade Thompson. I had such high hopes, it opened SO well with such a cool technology, but I just couldn’t get past the main character and the misogynistic language + behaviour he used constantly.

6 – Your biggest surprise of the year

Biggest surprise for me isn’t title based, but genre based. This was the year I started reading contemporary YA and I have fallen in love with the genre. The first book I read was Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorran and it was fantastic and every other book I’ve read so far has also been so bloody good. I’m so happy I gave this genre a chance!

7 – Favourite debut or new to you author

So many favourite new authors, as I’ve really been trying to read more widely this year. I loved R.F Kuang’s The Poppy War which I read earlier this year and can’t wait for The Dragon Republic. Definitely added to my list of ‘always read’ authors.

8 – Your new fictional crush

Fiona from Her Royal Higness, beautiful Scottish princess (though may be a little biased to this one since I’m also Scottish). I just loved her fire and passion and how she grew throughout the book. Also, I have to mention Alex, bisexual ICON from Red, White and Royal Blue. He was just so confident and fierce and sarcastic. And if we’re on fierce, bisexual icons I should mention Serefin from Wicked Saints too!

9 – Your new favourite character

My new favourite character is definitely Dara from The Fever King. He’s so broken and soft and I fear so much for the sequel! PLEASE GIVE DARA HIS FARM AND GOATS.

10 – A book that made you cry

I’ve cried at quite a few books this year (several times on public transport – I get far too emotionally involved!) But the one I’ll mention here is I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver because I’ve wanted to mention it for so many other of these questions! This debut is phenomenal – it’s about a nonbinary teen who comes out to their parents and is then thrown out of their house and it hurts every part of my heart.

11 – A book that made you happy

I’ll be honest, I usually read books that make me cry over books that make me happy. But, a little behind everyone else, I finally read A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet this year and it was so fun and so happy, I loved all the characters and it was just such an enjoyable read.

12 – Your favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year

I don’t think I’ve actually watched any book to film adaptations this year… I don’t watch a huge number of films in general. I think the only films I’ve actually watched this year have been Marvel movies. Which I guess kind of count since they are technically based on comics…? So Captain Marvel all the way then!

13 – Your favourite review/post you’ve written this year

Well I’ve only had this blog for just over a month, so don’t have a huge number to choose from! And so far I’ve kept it fairly simple as I get into my blogging groove, with lots of reviews and TBRs. Which I guess makes this a lot easier. I’m actually going to go with my Pride month TBR post because it showcases such incredible queer books and it took me SO long to actually narrow it down to that list and I am proud I managed to get it down to just 15 books.

14 – The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

Descendent of the Crane is just stunning. That cover is so beautiful and is even more beautiful in person.

I also wanted to mention Missing, Presumed Dead, which is beautiful to me for a very special reason. I won a copy of this book in a Twitter giveaway arranged by the author (Emma Berquist) and Vicky Who Reads, and it arrived about two weeks ago. I hadn’t at all expected it to be signed, and this is the first book I’ve ever had signed by any author, and it made me a little emotional so it is incredibly beautiful to me because of this. (Also, having now finished it, it is AMAZING!!!)

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

Ooooh I have so many I want to read! Image below is of my current ‘immediate TBR shelf’ – I hope to have a lot of these read during the rest of Pride month (per my TBR post, which I’ve actually managed to follow pretty well so far!)

Let me know how your year is going in books! I would love to see more of these posts – so if you’re still reading, consider yourself tagged!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco