Time flies, and 2018 is already half over. To close out June, I decided to hop on the mid-year book freak out train. Time to look through the 55 books I’ve read so far to round up the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. Best book(s) you’ve read so far in 2018.
Hopefully no recency bias here. I may have read both Circe and The Book of M closer to now than the start of the year, but yes, they really are that good. These are both hands-down fantastic novels with amazing magical realism elements utilised very differently, and I’ll never not recommend them.
2. Best sequel(s) you’ve read so far in 2018.
Again, there’s no way I can choose just one. The Defiant and Legendary are two second books in YA trilogies that buck the trend of sequel fatigue. They raise the stakes, expand the worldbuilding and deepen the intrigue of their predecessors in fascinating and wonderful ways.
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
This is a tough one, because if I badly want to read a book I normally find a way to read it ASAP, whatever it takes. I guess the closest thing to the prompt is The Poppy War, which I’ve heard good things about and want to get around to eventually, just not enough to have actually gone and read it.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
For now my most anticipated release of 2018’s second half is Wildcard, but only because I just got a copy of Bright We Burn, a week before the official release date. (Commence shameless fangirling.) And also because the final books to two other duologies I love, Muse of Nightmares and This Cruel Design, don’t come out until after Wildcard and I try not to hype myself up about books that I know won’t be released for months yet.
Shut up. The Wicked King doesn’t count.
5. Biggest disappointment.
Ash Princess isn’t my lowest rated book this year, but it was the low-rated one that I had the highest hopes for. In the end the clichéd plot and annoying characters were just too much for me, and although I pulled myself through the novel, I came out of it quite disappointed.
6. Biggest surprise(s).
I chose to go with positive surprises, although there was no shortage of books that unfortunately surprised me the wrong way. The Exact Opposite of Okay and Witchsign were both by authors I hadn’t heard of before, and although these books could not be more different (seriously, I challenge you to find one similarity in their premises/characters/styles), they both turned out better than I expected.
7. Favourite new author (debut or new to you).
Yes, I know she’s not really an author, but Syrian refugee and Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini wrote one of my favourite books this year as well as being an incredibly brave, all-out inspiring person. And because my experiences within authors vary so wildly–I often hate one series by an author and love another–it seems most appropriate to put someone that I admire as a human being.
8. Newest fictional crush.
Hi Dante! I know you’re possibly evil and definitely untrustworthy, but you wanna hang out sometime anyways? Real talk, best love (?) interest since The Cruel Prince‘s Cardan. The only reason Cardan’s not here is because I technically read that book in 2017.
9. Favourite character.
Sarah Goldstein is cunning, resourceful and a verified resistance fighter against the Third Reich. What’s not to love?
10. Book that made you cry.
I don’t really cry from reading, but Shadowsong was when I came the closest. This book was an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. Love it or hate it, S. Jae-Jones puts your feelings through the meat grinder.
11. Book that made you happy.
I’m reaching back a long way, because wow, the amount of depressing/cliffhanger/bittersweet books I’ve read this year shocks me when I look back. So here’s To Kill a Kingdom, a feel-good standalone with a bleak premise that ends in an uplifting happily ever after.
I’ve styled this post as a discussion, but it began as a book tag! The ideas for these prompts are not mine, and as usual, I encourage you to give your own take on the tag if it interests you. What are your gems, surprises and disappointments of the past six months?