2020 is already over halfway through (honestly thank God for that), and it's time for my mid-year book freak out post. I LOVE writing these, and looking back over the first half of the year's reads to get to grips with exactly what I want to choose for each part of the post. With LOTS of time spent at home and nothing to do, I think I'm actually going to hit my Goodreads target this year - by the end of June I'd reached 32 books, so I've got a few more than normal to choose from!
1.) Best book you've read so far in 2020?
There is SO much hype about Where the Crawdads Sing online that I was a bit wary of reading it and getting my hopes up, but it really was incredible. It's like nothing I've read in a very long time and in my opinion feels like a book that will end up on future English Lit courses. There's a slow rural American drawl-y kind of pace to it and every single bit of writing is just beautiful. The book is about a girl called Kya who grows up in the marshland largely alone after her mother and siblings leave her and her alcoholic father. She learns to fend for herself, and the book is simultaneously a coming of age story and murder mystery. It's slow paced, but it felt appropriate for the content of the book and I just can't wait to see what Delia Owens brings out in the future.
2.) Best sequel you've read so far in 2020?
Crazy Rich Asians is such an incredible series, and the only way I can really describe it is Gossip Girl on speed set in Singapore, but better. China Rich Asians is the second in the series, and picks up *spoiler alert* after Nick and Rachel's engagement. When Nick's mum (who is totally NOT invited to the wedding) turns up to the wedding planning with a bombshell about who exactly Rachel's father is, Rachel and Nick head from the US to China to try and connect with the family she never knew. Everything is just as dramatic as it always was in the first book and I was hooked throughout. I've got the third and final instalment waiting on my shelves, but I'm just not sure I'm ready to let go of the series yet!
3.) New release you haven't read yet, but want to?
It's not exactly a new release, as it came out last year, but I really want to read The Testaments still. I'm not a fan of hardbacks so I was waiting for the paperback to be realised, but I NEED to know what happens after The Handmaid's Tale. I also really want to get my hands on Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.
4.) Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
I feel totally out of the loop of a lot of books that are coming out soon, but I am looking forward to a few. Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola is a collection of mythical tales retold which I canNOT wait for. Karen McManus is bringing out The Cousins and Jennifer Niven is releasing Breathless, so these should satisfy my need for good new YA.
5.) Biggest disappointment?
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins was a book I was really excited to read and I'd heard a lot of good things about, but I just couldn't get into. I loved the idea of the story line - Frannie Langton was an ex-slave brought from the Caribbean to be a servant in London and is accused of the murder of the master and mistress of her household there. There were queer elements to the story and a lot of really interesting plot twists, however I just couldn't get on with the writing. The whole book really dragged for me because of how it was written, despite me liking the plot.
6.) Biggest surprise?
I'm not sure if this is meant to be a 'you thought the book was going to be rubbish and turned out to be great' question, but I'm using it as biggest plot surprise. This one has to go to The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I spent most of it thinking I was going to give it three stars - it's about a patient on a psychiatric ward who hasn't spoken since she killed her husband, and her therapist. However, the twist made me feel a bit like 'WHAAAAT?!' and rocketed it up to a five star read that I've been thinking about ever since.
7.) Favourite new author?
I'm super late to the game on this one, but Sarah J Maas is an author I'd just never gotten around to until this year and I regret it (however now I still have so many books of hers left to read still so who's the real winner?). I've read A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury now (the latter would be my fave book for this post if I hadn't read it in this second half of the year) and they might be the best series I've ever read.
8.) Newest fictional crush?
If you've read the ACOTAR series then you'll know where I'm going with this. Sarah J Maas writes sexual tension incredibly well so I'm pretty sure I'm in love with Rhysand? It's been a real slow burner but honestly I've got a bigger crush on him than I've had on any character in years.
9.) Newest favourite character?
After putting it off for ages because I was worried it wouldn't be as good as THUG, I finally read On The Come Up and loved Bri's character. She's a schoolgirl whose family are living in poverty and is trying to secure a financial future through rapping. At the same time she's struggling to find out who she is as a teen in a world where a whole bunch of stereotypes are forced on her. The book's a really great insight into what it's like to be a Black teen in the US.
10.) Book that made you cry?
I read my first Cecelia Ahern book a couple of months ago and it was absolutely not what I expected. If You Could See Me Now is a magical realism book about an invisible friend who is assigned to an adult woman rather than a child as he normally would be. Ivan needs to work out why he's been assigned to her and how he can help her, knowing that when his job is done he'll fade from her sight. I'm not sure if this was meant to be a tearjerker, but I loved it and totally wept.
11.) Book that made you happy?
Where the Crawdads Sing has to win this one too (and totally made me cry). I loved the writing style and story line - everything about the book was so beautiful that it really made me feel soothed whenever I read it. It wasn't a happy feeling as in I was jumping for joy, but more that the book made me feel warm and content.
12.) Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year?
I've not bought *too* many new books this year because wow I really need to attempt to read some of the hundreds of unread books I own. 'Remembered' by Yvonne Battle-Felton is the prettiest one I've bought in a LONG time.
13.) What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
There's nothing I *need* to read, but I'd love to get through the next Game of Thrones book (A Dance with Dragons Part 1), 'Romeo and Juliet', the rest of the ACOTAR series, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and the final book in the Crazy Rich Asians series.