2020 MID-YEAR BOOK FREAK OUT

Well, we made it! We’ve survived the first half of 2020. And unlike last year this feels like a much bigger achievement because.. you know. 2020 has been A Lot.

This year, we’ve decided to do a follow up to 2019’s post, which didn’t actually follow the tag but was more a glimpse at reading stats, as well as actually participate in answering the tag’s questions. Spoiler alert : Hollis cheats at pretty much every tag question.


What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2020?
M : Drum roll…THE COURT OF MIRACLES by Kester Grant.
H : I can’t pick just one. I’m going to be that person. WOLFSONG by TJ Klune, THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA also by TJ Klune, and BEACH READ by Emily Henry.

What is the best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?
M : CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare, late to the party as ever.
H : THE FAITHLESS HAWK by Margaret Owen (I read this recently for the original pub date but it’s been pushed back to August now) and NETWORK EFFECT by Martha Wells which, isn’t technically a sequel, I guess, but an installment in a series!

What’s a new release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
M : The only one I’ve not read from our Top Ten Most Anticipated 2020 release post is CHAIN OF GOLD by Cassandra Clare and I’m ready!
H : The good news is, from our Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of 2020 list, I’ve read them all! So I’ll go with AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY by Danielle Jawando because I’ve been keen to read it since Micky’s review.

What is your most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
M : THE IPPOS KING by Grace Draven, long awaited but hopefully worth it.
H : The Draven is definitely up there but I think.. ooh, this is hard. Either EMERALD BLAZE by Ilona Andrews or A DEADLY EDUCATION by Naomi Novik. The former I know I’ll love and the latter I hope to love.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
M : THIS IS HOW WE LOSE THE TIME WAR by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Hollis says ouch)…and Micky is still aching from the pain.
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 that’s BOYFRIEND MATERIAL by Alexis Hall.

What has been your biggest surprise?
M : THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon, which was a situation of moving from intimidation of that tome to impressed as anything at the world, characters and writing.
H : I think I expected to like this but didn’t quite anticipate just how delightful it would be? And that’s KINGS OF THE WYLD by Nicholas Eames.

Do you have a favorite new author (debut or new to you)?
M : AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY by Danielle Jawando because it has everything contemporarily relevant, YA issues of mental illness, BIPOC author and characters and its set in my home city of Manchester.
H : I might have to go with TJ Klune. I had read one book by him previously and didn’t love it. And 2020 proved to me that I had clearly started with the wrong series/book. I mean, I could love nothing else but the Green Creek series and THotCS but.. well, we won’t know that for a while yet!

Who is your newest fictional crush?
M : Zafir, the king of swoons from TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN by Talia Hibbert.
H : I mean.. if you’ve read TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN, there is no acceptable answer other than Zafir. We twinned on our love for the book so no surprise we twin on this answer, too.

Who is your newest favorite character?
M : Alyrra from THORN by Intisar Khanani, she was humble maybe partly due to low self-esteem but also strong and had all the character growth as she was thrown into the worst of circumstances.
H : Murderbot from the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.

What book has made you cry?
M : SEA PRAYER by Khalid Houseeni, brace yourself.
H : Almost everything I read makes me cry. Better question would be which book didn’t make me cry. But to answer the real question? WIRE WINGS by Wren Handman.

What book has made you happy?
M : ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED by Sophie Gonzales, mostly read with a smile on my face.
H : TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN by Talia Hibbert because it’s Talia Hibbert.

What’s the most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?
M : UK hardback of DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS by Laini Taylor (gifted by the one and only Hollis)
H : Sticking with the Laini theme, I’ll say my IG giveaway win of NIGHT OF CAKE AND PUPPETS, which was also the UK edition.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
M : HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones, SKYWARD by Brandon Sanderson, A HEART SO FIERCE & BROKEN by Brigid Kemmerer, THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett, TIES THAT TETHER by Jane Igharo, MIDNIGHT SUN by Stephenie Meyer.
H : I’m going to steal from our last Five On Our TBRs post and say SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid, AURORA TERMINUS by S.E. Fanetti, and THE BEST THING by Mariana Zapata. I need to knock these out before next year or the point of that post is just.. pointless. But also I want to finally get to the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, I’m waiting on my hold of FELIX EVER AFTER by Kacen Callender to pop up, and more non-fiction titles.

credit for the Mid-Year Book Freak Out tag goes to :
Chami → https://youtu.be/EB8OrYHBvM8
Ely → https://youtu.be/X_Wh0rPGfRg



Now it’s stats and reading review time!

Hollis
Once again we have a lack of GR reading goal and thank goodness for that because 2020 didn’t come to play. I’m all over the place on reading and that was my norm pre-COVID but the pandemic has definitely not helped. I am (obviously) not one of those lucky souls reading more than ever right now. I wish. That said..

As of June 21, 2020, my total reads are : 120 (down by six from 2019 by this point). Of those reads, 6 are five-star reads (down by one from 2019) and 2 are one-star reads (down by five from 2019). Also, for one reason or another, 4 books were left unrated (down by five from 2019). Additionally I’ve DNF’d 1 book this year (down by five from 2019).

Further breaking this down, of those 120 books, 36 were ARCs (down almost half from 2019), 30 were from my OverDrive (literally the same!), 46 were bought/freebie eBooks (up by thirty from 2019.. it’s lots of shorts/freebies for series, though, in addition to working through already-owned eBooks/backlist), 2 are physically owned by me (down by five from 2019.. though there might be a few more I’ve since bought in physical but also have as eBook), I’ve read no graphic novels from hoopla (down by five from 2019), and 1 was a physical library book (same as 2019 so I can’t even say elle oh elle COVID). Incase you were doing the math with me, yes, that leaves 5 books unaccounted for (up by two from 2019, wtf). Once again I’m as confused as you. But you get the idea.

I hope to break this down into genres and categories, own voices, representation, etc, by the end of the year for an overall stats wrap up. .. at least that’s the goal!


Micky
Again, it’s been about 4 years since I’ve set a Goodreads reading goal but I do keep track of my reads on different shelves and I keep a detailed reading journal because I love the creativity of that. I’m not following the same pattern as Hollis on stats because my brain is a completely different creature.

So far in 2020, I’ve read 121 books and I’m pleased to say that 21 of those were owned books or backlog reads. Reading the backlog is a constant aim for me, if only I could stop acquiring at the same time. I’ve only listened to 15 audiobooks so far this year and that’s low for me. I listen to audiobooks on my commute so working at home over COVID has had a significant effect on that. What is also on the down trend are dnfs – only 5 so far and I’m hoping to keep that number low-ish.

I’ve read 16 BIPOC reads and I’m hoping to increase this exponentially (own voices). I’ve also read 18 LGBTQIA+ books, 9 of which were own voices. Both BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ books have been spread across my reads for the year for the last few years. Current events have me being a little more purposeful.

I’ve continued reading from the library, a few physical but mostly ebooks and they account for 24 of my reads. ARCs and ALCs (advanced listening copies) make up 70 of those 121 book which has shocked me a little. I want to level that out a bit and make room for non-ARC reads more. That said, over my years on netgalley I’ve how given feedback on 364 titles and I’m happy with that. I guess I’m on track for about 100 netgalley feedbacks in 2020.


And, phew! Congrats if you’ve made it this far, frankly we’re feeling a bit exhausted after all that brain crunching. We’d love to know how mid-year has you feeling about books, especially for a year that’s had a lot of us house-bound so far. Are you reading less or more? Feeling accomplished or exhausted or slumpy? Tell us your feels.