Every year I see the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag all over the internet. And every year I somehow manage NOT to get it done myself. Not this year! It’s happening.
This has been an interesting reading year for me. I’ve read less than I have in years past (thank you, current world events) and I’ve really struggled to get into (and stick with) books I was excited about. I’ve been doing a lot of backlist reading and rereads are giving me life.
All that said, it was still really hard to narrow down some of these categories. I’ve not read AS MANY books, but I’ve read some amazing books. That’s all that matters, right?
Oh and one more note — I challenged myself not to use the same title more than once during this tag. That made me think a little more about what I selected and why.
And without further ado, here’s my contribution to the Mid-Year Freak Out tag madness. 😉
Best book you’ve read so far in 2020
Ok, for real. This is the hardest question. I guess it’s good to get it out of the way first? I could’ve chosen Daisy Jones and the Six or 40-Love or Love Lettering or The Rogue of Fifth Avenue or Queen Move, but I’m going with an oldie but goodie — Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. The rumors are true — Derek Craven is everything. So is this book.
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020
The Simple Wild was one of my favorite books last year. I was over the moon when I learned Kathleen was giving us more of Calla and Jonah. It was the perfect follow-up, too. Now I can go back to waiting for more in Forever Wild.
New release you haven’t read yet but want to
I’ve heard so many good things about Something to Talk About, but I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I love a good slow burn romance and I need to read more f/f stories. So, one of these days… (Soon, hopefully.)
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
There are a few books I’m really looking forward to, but none of them as much as this. A new Mariana Zapata book is always special, but this one is even more so because it features one of my all-time favorite secondary characters — Zac from The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. I have no idea when it will be available — Mariana doesn’t do release dates or pre-orders — but I know I will drop literally everything to read it the second I can get my hands on it.
It hurts to put a book by one of my favorite authors in the category of biggest disappointment. I’ve loved everything Elle’s written up until now, but this one just didn’t work for me. I actually ended up DNFing it. My sky-high hopes probably didn’t help matters any, but I didn’t like the way the heroine’s body issues were represented. I also had trouble with the “reformed” manwhore hero. Huge bummer all around.
I’ve read and enjoyed other of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books in the past, but those books walked the line between women’s fiction and romance. (You know I’m all about the romance.) Not this book. If you’d have told me earlier this year one of my favorite books of the year would be the women’s fiction version of a VH1 Behind the Music show, I’d have told you that you were out of your mind. But low and behold, this book was amazing. The audio sucked me in and made me feel EVERYTHING along the way.
Favorite new author (debut or new-to-you)
Can anyone tell me why I waited so long to read one of Farrah Rochon’s books? The Boyfriend Project was delightful. I loved the romance and how it took an honest look at what being a woman, especially a woman of color, is like in the workplace. I can’t wait to devour Farrah’s extensive backlist. Joanna Shupe, Kate Clayborn and Olivia Dade were also in contention.
Newest fictional crush
I just finished this book last night and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ll save most of my thoughts for my upcoming review — once I unpack my thoughts anyhow — but I will say I completely fell for one of the characters. John was wonderful. He was a bit of an enigma on the page, but what I saw was enough to give me swoons and feels. It’s worth noting The Last Train to Key West is a historical fiction, not a romance, but Chanel always gives good romantic relationships in her books. There were three of them in this particular book and each was special in its own way.
Newest favorite character
40-Love was my first Olivia Dade book and it will in no way be my last. I’m going to binge the hell out of Olivia’s backlist as soon as I can get a few ARCs out of the way. I loved both Tess and Lucas, but Tess was EVERYTHING. I want to be her best friend. Hell, I want to be her… or at least have a fraction of the self-confidence she has. I have a total girl crush on her.
A book that made you cry
I’ve loved this series so hard for the very beginning. It’s an emotional one.Kincaid and Ash’s unrequited love/friends-first romance gave me all the angst and feels. And that epilogue? I cried like a baby. I hate saying goodbye to these characters, but I can’t think of a better way to wrap it all up.
A book that made you happy
As you’re probably well aware by now, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me is my all-time favorite book. It’s my comfort read. I turn to it when I’m sad or when I’m in a reading slump. Turns out there’s been a lot about 2020 that has caused me to need comfort. I’m actually reading this one right now for the fourth time this year. (My sixteenth time overall.) It just makes my heart so happy and that’s why I keep reading it over and over again.
The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year
I could’ve gone any number of different directions for the most beautiful book of the year — 40-Love for the fat rep and that amazing cover or Queen Move for the story and characters, for example — but I decided to go with Good Talk instead. Another surprising book for me, since neither graphic novels NOR memoirs are high on my usual list of things to read. But, I was borderline obsessed with this book from the minute I picked it up. The combination of photos and illustrations was as powerful as the words inside.
A book/books you need to read by the end of the year
I could list a whole bunch of books I need/want to read by the end of the year, but I decided to narrow it to one. That one is Take a Hint, Dani Brown. Talia was one of my favorite new-to-me authors in 2019 and I adored the first book in this series (Get a Life, Chloe Brown) when I read it late last year. I’d hoped to get to this book before its release, but I didn’t get to it. It’s coming up very, very soon on my TBR though.
Don’t have a blog, but want to share your own Mid-Year Freak Out results on Instagram? I created templates for this. You can find them in my highlights (@kimberlyfayereads) or download them from Dropbox.
Did you do the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag?
If so, leave your link. I’d love to check out your answers!
What have been some of your favorites of the year so far?