It’s the middle of the year and therefore time to complete this tag that I’ve done the last few years and that is super popular on YouTube. The original tag was created by Earl Gray Books. I really enjoy this check in with my reading. I think I’m currently at just shy of 150 books of the year so it’s also a good time to check in from that perspective to see what I’m enjoying and what hasn’t really worked for me. So let’s dive in!
- What is the best book you’ve read this year?
I know my mental health is struggling because when I got to this question, it felt like I was in a fog and no book was standing out, but I’m really leaning toward A Deal with the Devil by Elizabeth O’Roark for this answer. My immediate review on Goodreads was: “The easiest and most confident five stars I’ve given all year.” Something about Tali and Hayes just really, really captivated me. I loved them so much. I know this book has heavier content with the stuff going on with Tali’s family and I am pretty sure that I often don’t like characters like Hayes, but, uh, yeah, this book was just exactly the right book for me in the moment.
2. What is the best sequel you’ve read this year?
So, romance wise, this would be Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews, which was magnificent. I’m now desperate for Arabella to have her own trilogy and about a million other companion novels in the world. I shall (im)patiently wait while Avon begs IA to write them or IA works out how to do it on their own. I’m not even picky. Just let me have them. You know? Anyway, setting Ruby Fever aside, I really struggled to pick which of the Wheel of Time books would count as a “favorite sequel” and came up with three books that I really liked: The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, and The Gathering Storm. But I’m also so relieved the be free of the absolute grip that series had on me.
3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, but Want To
The War of Two Queens by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the one that is haunting me right now. I really want to read it! And also Glow even though I haven’t even finished book three yet… These two hyped series really got to me somehow. No regrets. Also!! The Devil You Know by Elizabeth O’Roark, which just dropped last week and I own and am ready to read. I just haven’t clicked play yet.
4. Most Anticipated Book for the Rest of the Year
Storm Echo and Archangel’s Resurrection by Nalini Singh are topping that list, but I’m also pretty excited about Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Mostly though I’m just dying for Amazon to give me the Daisy Jones tv show.
5. Biggest Disappointment of the Year
The Ex Effect by Karla Sorensen is a book that should have taken me a day and has taken me… much longer because I am not liking it. I’m currently paused just before the bleak moment because I don’t want to deal with how irritating this is about to be. But it’s disappointing for me because I’ve really loved Karla Sorensen’s world she’s created with the Washington Wolves team and the Ward family especially. So to not be enjoying my time with The Ex Effect is really unfortunate. Also, I was disappointed by Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse because it didn’t give me what I wanted even though it’s not a bad book. I talk about it in more detail in my review.
6. Biggest Surprise
I have two books for this. Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez caught me completely off guard by how much I adored it. I just was not expecting that! And then You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi blew me away even though I was so scared of it. It was the messy book that I couldn’t have dreamed up in my wildest dreams and Emezi just delivered it to me on a platter. It was glorious. Both of these books were definitely in contention to be my answer to Question One: What is the best book you’ve read this year?
7. New Favorite Author
I think that title may have to go to Elizabeth O’Roark, tbh, although I’ve not read anything of hers outside of the Devil series. I’ve clearly been enjoying Karla Sorensen and am devouring her books, so she’s a good author to throw out for this. I’m not sure yet though who exactly is going to wind up on my year end list of Favorite New to Me Authors. We’ll see.
8. New Fictional Crush
I really struggled to pick a character for this question, but I think I may have to go with Arland. I loved him so, so much in Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews. He is amazing. He drops everything for Dina to go rescue her sister and then he seems Maud and he’s like amazed by her. And he’s so good to little Helen. Yeah, I love him.
9. New Favorite Character
I read The Marriage Effect last year, but let me tell you, Paige? She is everything. She is one of the best parts of the Ward Sisters series and I want to be her when I grow up. Let’s ignore that I am technically grown up. Anyway, she’s so fiercely protective of the people she loves and she’s funny and probably arguably “too much” but she’s so unapologetic about it and I just adore her. So even though I really liked Paige in The Marriage Effect, it’s Paige as a side character in the Ward Sisters series that has solidified her as a favorite character.
10. A Book that Made You Cry
So I was listening to Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers on my way to work the other week and suddenly realized that there were TEARS running down my cheeks. The narrator was talking about being burnt out and exhausted and I was just there crying. And then last week I finished it up on my way back to the office from a different office and there I was crying again. Like, what?? This book, y’all. So poignant.
11. A Book that Made You Happy
I mean, Ruby Fever absolutely thrilled me to be reading it and it gave me so many answers, but to use a book I haven’t mentioned yet, is it cheating to mention my re-read of Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano? Because truly, those two books are everything. I cannot wait for book three.
12. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought
I am obsessed with the cover of You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty and I bought it on audio, so I’m going to have to count that one. I also really like the cover of How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder, although I haven’t bought myself a copy yet. So just as a like, honorable mention.
13. Books You Still Need to Read by the End of the Year
I have entirely too many books that I could list for this answer, so as you can see from above, I’ve just given you six ARCs that I have and need to read that I am also looking forward to getting to. Those books are Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon, Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley (out already), American Royalty by Tracey Livesay (drops tomorrow), Return of the Duke by Lorraine Heath, Bet on It by Jodie Slaughter, and When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord (out already).
Please share your favorite book of the year with me and anything else you feel like answering down below! I hope that while the world is a dumpster fire, you’re taking care of yourselves.