The Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag


Okay, so we’re a bit past the actual middle of the year–but this tag has been making the rounds in the bookish blogosphere lately, and I couldn’t resist it doing it myself!

But first, a quick note: I set this post to publish automatically on Monday morning because, as you read this, my family and I are likely still hiding from Hurricane Ida. I probably have no electricity or WiFi, which was why I wrote this post ahead of time. Depending on the situation, I may also have to delay the September issue of The Wordsmithery. But I’ll still be active on Twitter, cell service permitting, so be sure to follow me there!

Without further ado, please enjoy this fun recap of my reading life thus far in 2021–and I’ll put the same questions at the end so you can copy/paste them if you want to do this on your own blog.

When your book is positively shocking!! (Daisy Ridley as Ophelia, collage by Moi)

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?

Definitely Shusaku Endo’s haunting masterpiece, Silence*. As I wrote in my review of both the novel and the film based upon it, the Lord practically dropped this story in my lap–and it challenged, comforted, and moved me in so many different and important ways. Definitely worthy of a re-read!

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?

Of Literature and Lattes* by Katherine Reay. It’s the sequel to her novel The Printed Letter Bookshop, which is a DELIGHTFUL book and written in a similar fashion as Kathryn Stockett’s The Help: the point of view switches between three different characters, each with their own distinct voice. Of Literature and Lattes wasn’t quite as good as The Printed Letter Bookshop, but I did love going back to the town of Winsome and meeting up with my old friends there.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

The Icarus Aftermath* by Arielle M. Bailey! A friend recommended it to me by saying it’s basically a mash-up of Greek mythology and Star Wars–and honestly, I need no further convincing.

Source: Pinterest

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

I’m really, really interested in Gillian Bronte Adams‘ upcoming novel, Of Fire and Ash!

Biggest disappointment in 2021?

Sorry, guys, but…it’s gotta be Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone Trilogy. Everyone was talking about these books after Netflix released its adaptation of the first novel earlier in the year, so I thought I’d read them for myself. The first book was pretty intriguing, but the second book was mediocre at best, and I very nearly threw the third one at the wall when I stumbled upon a sex scene. (The only reason I didn’t throw the book was because it belonged to the library, not to me.) Thanks, but no thanks. I have better things to do than read about teenagers doing that.

Biggest surprise in 2021?

The Journeyman* by Elizabeth Yates. My mom recommended it to me, and I was utterly captivated by this short, simple, but beautiful story of an artistic young boy in New England during the early 19th century. I really didn’t expect it to engage me so deeply, but it was so vivid and tugged on all the right heartstrings. It certainly kept me occupied during one very long morning spent in a doctor’s office waiting room, I can tell you that!

Favorite new author in 2021?

I don’t know that I’d classify her as “new,” but I have a new and profound respect for Claudia Gray after reading two of her Star Wars novels, Leia, Princess of Alderaan* and Bloodline*. Guyyyyyys, Bloodline is a GOOD BOOK.

Newest fictional crush/ship?

Oh, DEFINITELY Anastasia and Zash in Nadine Brandes’ historical fantasy Romanov*.

Newest favorite character?


Heehee. Seriously, though. My family and I just marathoned all the movies this summer, and then my siblings and I all chipped in and bought the books. I’m reading The Chamber of Secrets* at the mo and I’m having so much fun. But as for Harry himself, he may very well the kindest, sweetest hero I’ve ever read in modern literature. Authors of YA fiction, TAKE NOTE: your heroes and heroines do not have to be cold-shouldered and emo in order to be interesting and admirable.

Source: Google Images

Book that made you cry in 2021?

I may have gotten a bit of dust in my eye at the end of Silence.

Book that made you happy in 2021?

Resistance Reborn* by Rebecca Roanhorse! It’s a Star Wars novel set directly after The Last Jedi–and when I say “directly,” I mean that it opens with Leia, Rey, Poe, and Finn still on the Falcon mere hours after the Battle of Crait. This novel kept me very entertained (and often chuckling at Finn and Poe’s antics and escapades) during the first couple of weeks after my accident.

Favorite book-to-film adaption you saw in 2021:

I mean, I’ve gotta give Silence another shout-out here…but also Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix* because that was my favorite of the movies…and also Howards End*, because although I haven’t read that book (yet), I really liked the miniseries starring Hayley Atwell.

Favorite bookish post you’ve done so far in 2021:

My review of Nadine Brandes’ Romanov. I inhaled that book in three days (in my defense, I was on a road trip–but I’d packed other books, too, and barely touched them).

Most beautiful book you bought so far in 2021:

I did have a part to play in the purchase, so I’m gonna say our new, hardback copy of Harry Potter Sand the Goblet of Fire*. True story, Friends: I remember going to Books-a-Million with my grandmother back in 2000 (which means I was all of eight years old) and seeing all these kids buying this particular book–this particular hardback with this particular front cover. Imagine my nostalgic delight when, last week, my siblings and I received our own copies in the mail, and The Goblet of Fire triggered that 21-year-old memory of mine!

Books you need to read by the end of the year:

  • This Beautiful Truth* by Sarah Clarkson (currently reading!)
  • The rest of the Harry Potter books (*Snape voice* Obbbbbviousssssslyyyyyy)
  • Charitable Writing* by Richard Hughes Gibson and James Edward Beitler III (I started this during my convalescence but still need to finish it)
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (everyone tells me it’s way better than Shadow and Bone and y’all better be right)

And here are the questions for anyone who wants to take this tag and run with it!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Biggest disappointment in 2021

Biggest surprise in 2021

Favorite new author in 2021

Newest fictional crush/ship

Newest favorite character

Book that made you cry in 2021

Book that made you happy in 2021

Favorite book-to-film adaption you saw in 2021

Favorite bookish post you’ve done so far in 2021

Most beautiful book you bought so far in 2021

Books you need to read by the end of the year

8 thoughts on “The Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag

  1. I hope your family is safe from the hurricane, Maribeth! ❤

    *gasp* "Order of the Phoenix" is my favorite Harry Potter movie TOO!!! It's so colorful and vivid and intense!!! Also, Sirius :'-(

    "Six of Crows" and "Crooked Kingdom" are objectively better and more original than "Shadow and Bone," but I don't know whether they'd be to your personal taste or not? You are definitely going to encounter a lot of rough-edged, morally gray characters. It's kind of the antithesis of a "chosen one" story, and deliberately meant to be so. But if you like that sort of thing, it's SO. WELL. DONE. And Kanej (Kaz + Inej) is an absolute top-tier slow burn romance.


    1. Heyyyyyyyyyy it’s only taken me a week to get back to you on this comment–but between the sizable job of cleaning up our yard and trying to catch up on my writing afterwards, life has been nonstop! We’re all good–we were without power for three days, but after really thinking we’d be in the literal eye of the storm, we were spared the worst.

      The Order of the Phoenix is so good!!! I love the part where Harry is teaching all the other students to defend themselves against the Dark Arts! He really comes into his own in that movie.

      I do think that “Six of Crows” sounds really intriguing–and I’m interested enough to definitely give it a try 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Goblet of Fire movie was my first introduction into HP in 2010. I’d seen all the paraphernalia growing up a decade before, but I doubt we would have been allowed to watch/read (nor do I think I could have handled it), and I wasn’t into fantasy at that age. Then my sister read them when we were teens and by that point I thought they were little kids books (silly me, middle grade is amazing). It took the movie to pique my interest. Goblet of Fire book and movie are my favorite. I know there is a meme or joke or something about the most underappreciated character in Harry Potter is Harry Potter. I love him, he’s such a great character. I don’t think the movies do him justice.

    I might need to try those Star Wars novels you mentioned.

    I might steal this tag and do this.


    1. I’m nearly finished with The Chamber of Secrets and I’ve really enjoyed it! I’m currently in “Sing Dumbledore’s Praises Mode” because he prescribed bedrest and a cup of hot chocolate to poor little Ginny Weasley. I wish more literary mentors offered up such comforts!


  3. Ooh, The Icarus Aftermath! I’ve read glowing reviews for it, and even though I’m not a huge fan of Greek/Roman mythology, it sounds like a book I’d love. When you get to it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Bloodline IS a good book! It’s on my “reread soon” list, since I read it years ago and don’t really remember it very well. And Leia, Princess of Alderaan has been on my TBR forever!

    Yes! Of Fire and Ash looks so good!

    I’ve read all the HP books but have only seen through Prisoner of Azkaban. They rest of the movies look wonderful, though! (Although the amount of…ahem…DRAMA in Half-Blood Prince HIGHLY irritates me…)

    I’m trying to decide whether I want to read Six of Crows or not. On the one hand, it seems well-written and intriguing. On the other hand…it seems to have some Content things that I would not appreciate. It’s on my “maybe TBR” for now. I would love to hear what you think of it!


    1. BLOODLINE. (*dying whale noises*) That book had me on the edge of my seat the whole time! And seriously, if you want certain, ahem, tragic threads from Bloodline tied up in a neat and beautiful bow, you’ve GOT to read Resistance Reborn. Not all the tragedies in Bloodline remain tragedies. Arrrgh, I’m trying so hard not to spoil it!!!

      I agree, The Half-Blood Prince was waaaaaaaay too dramatic, haha–and I’ve only seen the movie! My sister tells me the book is much better, but I’ve got a ways to go before I get to that one. I’m about to finish The Chamber of Secrets.

      I’ll definitely let everyone know what I think of both “The Icarus Aftermath” and “Six of Crows” once I read them! You’re on Goodreads, right? I’ll post my reviews there when I read them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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