Look at me finally getting around to doing the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag! I’ve had this post set on draft for weeks now while I thought about (and probably overthought about) my answers. So much pressure!
I’m not quite back to my pre-pandemic levels of reading, but I’m doing a lot better than I was this time last year. Of course, I’ve also picked up some new hobbies and stopped treating reading as a challenge so my numbers are bound to be lower. But I feel good about my reading choices and the grace I’ve given myself to more or less read what I want when I want.
Again this year, 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. It would’ve been so easy to use the same 2-3 books for nearly every answer, but I wanted to be more intentional than that.
So without further ado, here’s my contribution to the Mid-Year Freak Out tag madness. 😉
Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
Ok, for real. This is the hardest question. I guess it’s good to get it out of the way first? I’ve read some fantastic books this year and it’s always hard to narrow a favorite down to one. I’ll forever love a good fake dating story and I especially appreciated the way this duo took a familiar trope and put a unique spin on it. A DNA-based matchmaking service? Brilliant. A little creepy, sure, but brilliant nonetheless. The CEO and a client? Perfection. Messy, complicated perfection.
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021
I read Written in the Stars in January and loved it. While it’s not a traditional sequel — I’m not a big “series” reader — I knew I couldn’t wait to read Hang the Moon. I was just intrigued enough about Brendon that I needed more. Plus I hoped I would see more of Darcy and Elle (which I did!) in the second book. It’s easily a new favorite for the year so far. It made me giggle, swoon and cry more than once. Parts of it hit incredibly close to home but in a way that made me feel fondly nostalgic and not triggered.
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
I’m blessed enough to have an ARC of this book, but despite it being one of my most highly-anticipated books of the year, I’m trying to hold off on reading it for a little while longer. I’d like to get a smidge closer to release before I read it, but I’m not sure how long I can continue to hold off.
I was super psyched about this book for a few reasons, not the least of which are this amazing cover and the fact Jen was (finally!) releasing a new book. Unfortunately, it just didn’t hold my attention. So, I looked at Goodreads to see what others had said and when I realized there wasn’t a HEA or HFN and that it was more women’s fiction than romance, I decided to put it aside.
I probably shouldn’t be too surprised about The Widow of Rose House because it came so highly recommended by several of my friends. However, what works for others doesn’t always work for me. Especially when it’s a subgenre I’m not accustomed to. I’m not entirely sure I’ve read another gothic romance, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Favorite new author (debut or new-to-you)
I have no excuse for waiting so long to read a Beverly Jenkins book. I’m not sure what I was doing with my life. What a storyteller! Now I just need to make time to binge her backlist.
Newest fictional crush
It’s totally normal to crush on both the hero and heroine in a book, right? Because let me tell you, Eve and Jacob were both delightful. Okay, maybe “delightful” isn’t the best word to use to describe Jacob, but I loved him regardless.
Newest favorite character
Ethan or Naomi? Seriously, take your pick. I adored both of them.
A book that made you cry
The “marriage in crisis” trope is a relatively recent discovery for me, but one that I’ve come to appreciate so much when it’s done well. Chloe Liese nailed it with Aiden and Freya. Romance readers spend so much time reading to get to the HEA, but we often don’t get a chance to see what happens after when shit gets real. Of course that can’t come without some emotions and I’m an emotional reader, hence the tears.
A book that made you happy
The Love Hypothesis was an absolute delight from start to finish. You know those books that you just cheesy grin your entire way through? That’s what this was for me. Olive and Adam gave me all the swoony feelings. They were so soft and I just wanted to squeeze them. Theirs is a slow burn fake it till you make it, which is one of my favorites. It’s not without heat either. They were combustible. Get this on your TBR. It releases on September 14.
The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year
How do you define a “beautiful book”? Is it the packaging or the content? A combination of both? This is always a tough question for me when I do this book tag. Honestly, I feel like it’s a somewhat weird question too unless you’re someone who collects special editions of books. BUT, I’m going to stay true to myself and go with All Rhodes Lead Here. Yes, the cover is beautiful, but more importantly, the story is too.
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. After discovering Kate’s books last year, I was so excited about Love at First. I had an eARC and bought a finished copy. I just haven’t made time to read it yet. Soon!
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?