Well, we made it! We’ve survived the first half of 2021. And much like last year this feels a much bigger achievement because.. you know. 2021 has been A Lot.
Here we go!
What is the best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?
M : Fire by Kristin Cashore, yes I’m very late to this series. Oh and before I forget, Hollis is cheating below.
H : I’m providing a well rounded answer, this isn’t cheating. For best sequel I’ll say I Walk Alone by Wren Handman. For the best prequel it’s Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas. For best end-to-a-trilogy it’s Parousia by Laura Lascarso. And for the best companion/not quite a sequel, it has to be Act You Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert.
What’s a new release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
M : It’s a total shocker but I’m glad to say I haven’t been spoilt for A Court Of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas and I plan to give that chunker some attention during holiday over summer.
H : Like last year, I went to our Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of 2021 list and, with exception to those not released yet, I’ve read all of mine! Wow. The anticipation for those last two, by Klune and Hoang, is huge though. Two (very different) new releases I’m excited to dive into, though, are Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater and The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian.
What is your most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
M : I’m looking forward to The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik and The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang.
H : See aforementioned answer above. I neeeeeed The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang and Under The Whispering Door by TJ Klune and also Battle Royal by Lucy Parker.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
M : Probably Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, in part because I was looking forward to it and also because I’m so far removed from most people’s opinions on this one.
H : It’s not my lowest rated of the year (so far..) but it’s the one that I think I was most surprised about considering I expected it to be a new favourite (and it was one of last year’s most anticipated) and that’s The Ippos King by Grace Draven.
What has been your biggest surprise?
M : I’m going to be unconventional here and name a 31 page novella – Ring The Bell by Josie Jaffrey. A dystopian tale told brilliantly in those few pages (also warning for tough reading).
H : I recently read The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren. I haven’t really liked their books for years but this one was a surprise; in the best way. I really enjoyed it.
Do you have a favorite new author (debut or new to you)?
M : Ariadne by Jennifer Saint was a bombshell of a Greek Mythology retelling, grim and not pretty but still, it was something memorable. I’m definitely looking forward to her next book.
H : I’ll give two answers (surprising no one). I read Sarah Hogle’s sophomore release Twice Shy and it was so different to her debut but so delightful. She’s cemented herself as a must-read author for me. For a debut author, I think I’ll give it to Xiran Jay Zhao. I read an ARC of Iron Widow recently and it was big time wow. It could of course all go to pot in the next instalment or maybe you’ll be seeing their name in this spot again next year after book two. Who knows!
Who is your newest fictional crush?
M : Shane Hall from Seven Days in June by Tia Williams, this man’s words were 100% swoon-worthy.
H : Um, I mean, not new but with this year’s release of Ilona Andrews’ Blood Heir, I have to give it up to Derek for being an enduring crush. For an actual new crush? I’ll give it up to Wesley from Sarah Hogle’s Twice Shy.
Who is your newest favorite character?
M : Rocky from Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and the sad thing is, I can’t even explain who Rocky is because they’re a major spoiler and not mentioned in the blurb. You’ll just have to read it!
H : Like the question above, she’s not new, but because she officially has her own book..? Obviously it’s Julie/Aurelia from Ilona Andrews’ Blood Heir.
What book has made you cry?
M : Now it’s my turn to cheat, crying with exasperation at Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon. I still have ranty feelings.
H : Almost everything I read makes me cry. Better question would be which book didn’t make me cry. But I think the one I cried the most over recently would be Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers.
What book has made you happy?
M : All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata was one of her triumphs in my opinion. It wasn’t heavy on the angst but warm on the everything.
H : People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry, I think, has made me the happiest. But it was a struggle to think of an answer to this which probably says a lot. Note to self, make a “made me happy” shelf on GR.
What’s the most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?
M : Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne-Jones – The Folio Society Edition.
H : I don’t think I’ve bought a single book this year! Yikes. But my bestest blog buddy sent me a copy of The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart and that is one pretty book (which I still need to read, double yikes).
What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
M : I want to read the next two in the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Dark Lady by Akala and The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper.
H : I’m going to steal from our last Five On Our TBRs post (again) and say The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis, Seven Devils by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May, and Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson. The first two have been dogging my heels for a while now but I’m waiting on the sequels so I can do a mini binge. I can’t explain why the Pearson is still outstanding, especially after having finally finished/read The Remnant Chronicles series, which is what precedes this one. But it’s definitely going to happen before the end of 2021.
We’d love to know how the half way point of the year has you feeling about books you’ve read and anticipated. Any highlights so far? Any big disappointments? Tell us your feels.