Time to Freak Out! The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2022

What an insane half year this has been. I am super behind on writing reviews and I’ll probably go on hiatus for a while during the late summer. You know, to have our baby and all that. 🙂

Nevertheless, I want to join all of you others in freaking out over books once more, check in on goals (it’s not looking too bright for me this year) and remind myself of all the exciting releases still waiting to be devoured.

Best Book You Read So Far in 2022

This isn’t a lot but I’m quite happy with how different these three books are. Two are the final instalments of a series, one being the epic finale in a historical fantasy trilogy that made me cry all the tears and curse Rebecca Kuang for being so talented and cruel and mindblowlingly good at her job! Seriously, The Burning God was a worthy ending to a blood-soaked tale that I both want to re-read and never live through again at the same tme.
The other is only loosely connected to the rest of the Wayfarers series but it hit all the right notes again and had that warm blanket in book form effect on me. The Galaxy, and the Ground Within did not kick A Closed and Common Orbit off the favorite Wayfarers book pedestal, but it came pretty damn close.
Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs is a book I should have read ages ago when everyone else did, but better late than never. It took me a bit to get into but then it had everything I wanted. Can’t wait to read the other two books in the trilogy.

I’ve combined this question with the “Best Sequel” question because, well, two of my favortite books of the year are sequels anyway.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

Worse than ever this year… too many to list, but here are the top contenders.

  • C.S.E. Cooney – Saint death’s Daughter (currently reading)
  • Catherynne M. Valente – Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods
  • John Scalzi – The Kaiju Preservation Society
  • Nnedi Okorafor – Akata Woman
  • Tochi Onyebuchi – Goliath
  • Nicola Griffith – Spear
  • T. Kingfisher – Nettle & Bone

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

  • R. F. Kuang – Babel
  • Tamsyn Muir – Nona the Ninth
  • Freya Marske – A Restless Truth
  • Joanna Ruth Meyer – Wind Daughter
  • Becky Chambers – A Prayer for the Crown-Shy
  • Joan He – Strike the Zither
  • N. K. Jemisin – The World We Make
  • Tasha Suri – What Souls Are Made Of
  • Angela Slatter – The Path of Thorns
  • Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Stapels – Saga Vol. 10
  • Ruthanna Emrys – A Half-Built Garden

My top pick for this is definitely Rebecca Kuang’s Babel, not only because she wrote it (although that, too) but also because Dark Academia and I mean, look at that cover! Then the ever brilliant N.K. Jemisin will bring her duology to an end with The World We Make and I already know I’ll be listening to the audiobook narrated by Robin Miles because the first book was an experience! Cannot recommend the audio version enough.
I also cannot wait for Joan He’s new book, Strike the Zither, which will start a trilogy. Joan He has turned into one of my favorite YA authors because she writes a mean plot twist (or twelve) and characters that are complicated but believable. I’ll buy anything by her.
Finally, Saga is going to continue, so obviously the next volume is on this list. Then I have a non-fantasy (I think) novel by Tasha Suri, which is a retelling of Wuthering Heights. How could I resist? Plus a handful more books that I’ve been looking forward to, some of which are coming out really soon. Yay!

Biggest Disappointment

Sadly, I’ve had more of these than favorites.

This question hinges on expectations more than a book’s general quality, I think. V. E. Schwab has been disappointing me for a while now (everything after A Darker Shade of Magic was lacking) but I somehow still got my hopes up for this little gothic (potential) treasure called Gallant. Not only was it a very meh story, it had no substance at all. A short story blown out of all proportion using illustrations as a crutch (those are very pretty, though!) thrown together without care or thought. This marks the end of me reading Schwab right after release.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao was hyped up way too much and also in a way that makes me think I read a different book from everyone else. Hailed as feminist, dismantling the patriarchy with giant mechas plus polyamorous relationships, what I got was a not-like-other-girls perfect protagonist who hates and looks down on all other women (so much for feminism), a not even thinly veiled rip-off of Pacific Rim, shoddy world-building, and not a polyamory relationship but simply a girl who doesn’t choose between her two love interests but simply picks both. I wish I could have loved this like so many others have but I was just stunned at the hate for women who aren’t like the protagonist as well as the cheap and easily spotted plot twists. I will not be reading the sequel, obviously.

A River Enchanted was my first book by Rebecca Ross and a disappointment mostly in that it was based on a cool idea that was executed in the most boring way possible. It wasn’t bad, just predictable and somehow lifeless. I will give the author another chance, though.

The Star-Touched Queen was another first, not only my first Roshani Chokshi but also her debut novel. And boy, did it read like one. The insta-lovers showered each other in sugary vows and declarations of love that would make anyone cringe, there was very little plot, questionable treatment of female characters, and no world building at all. Again, I’ll try something else by the author but my expectations are decidedly lower than they were.

The reason Naomi Novik’s The Last Graduate isn’t on here is because I didn’t have very high expectations to begin with. One book that almost made the list is Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders because she can do so much better, but writing YA for the first time didn’t work so well. That caricature of a villain was too much for me, but overall, the book was still fun and had things going for it so it didn’t feel right to put it on this list.

Biggest Surprise

Seanan McGuire and I have a very hit or miss relationship. The Wayward Children series has been more miss than hit so far and this particular volume is a lot of people’s least favorite. It figures that it’s one of my favorites, if not the favorite so far. Across the Green Grass Fields does so many things on its few novella pages that I was left truly impressed. It also sent me through a whirlwind of emotions, both during the part in our world and the part in the Hooflands. And I’m not even a particularly big fan of horses…

Favorite New Author

Only one this time because I’ve read mostly books by authors I already know. But Robert Jackson Bennett made it with City of Stairs.

New Favorite Character

Sigrud from City of Stairs. Obviously. 🙂

A Book That Made You Cry

The Burning God because R. F. Kuang has no reservations when it comes to putting her characters through absolute hell. That ending was just too much.
Mostly very funny in tone but all the more effective when things got serious was Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. Certain moments hit me unexpectedly and made me all the more emotional. The fact that I’m pregnant may have made things even worse but I have no doubt I would have cried anyway, even without all the hormones.

A Book That Makes You Happy

I swear it’s a coincidence these are all covers with shades of purple! But purple or not, they made me happy. Becky Chambers is pretty much a guarantee for a feel-good book, and both Night of Cake and Puppets and Memento were returns to beloved worlds I didn’t know I had been missing that much, so that was lovely. I really liked T. Kingfisher’s Paladin’s Grace, which not only put me in a good mood because it’s by Kingfisher, but it also happens to be a romance and I am apparently very much on board with that right now. Easy to digest, fun, and occasionally sexy – I’d like some more of that, please.

Favorite Book-to-Movie Adaptation You’ve Seen This Year

So it may not be SFF but I am completely and utterly in love with the silliness that is Bridgerton and I’m not ashamed. Season 2 started out slow and I was actually quite disappointed in the first 3 episodes, but then the romance kicked in and the tension became ridiculously high. Picture me sitting in front of the TV, shouting at the charcters to just kiss already, fully enjoying that they don’t for the longest time. Man, those dances. And the glances. And the yearning! I have watched the season three times and I fully intend to watch it again once I’m off work (a few more days, yay).

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

The Illumicrate edition of Holly Black’s Book of Night is lovely and the regular edition of C. S. E. Cooney’s first full-length novel Saint Death’s Daughter is also stunning. Very glad to have them on my shelves.

What Books Do You Need to Read By the End of the Year

Should I even try to make reading plans? Well, I’ll keep it simple and stick to this year’s Hugo nominated books plus a few really urgent ones but I have no hopes of reaching any reading goals this yar. Goal number one is giving birth to a healthy child and keeping said child healthy and happy.

  • Fonda Lee – Jade Legacy
  • T. Kingfisher – Paladin’s Strength
  • T. Kingfisher – Paladin’s Hope
  • Shelley Parker-Chan – She Who Became the Sun
  • Aliette de Bodard – Fireheart Tiger
  • Naomi Kritzer – Chaos on CatNet
  • Darcie Little Badger – A Snake Falls to Earth
  • Ada Palmer – Too Like the Lightning
  • Charles Stross – Empire Games
  • C. L. Polk – Soulstar

Reading Goal/Challenges Status

  • Goodreads goal: 37/100
  • Orilium Readathon August: TBD

My first half of 2022 was filled mostly with baby books, doctor’s appointments, getting things at work ready for my leave, and more baby stuff. You wouldn’t believe how much brain power it takes just to be pregnant. Your body does most of the stuff by itself, sure, but maaaaaan, does it sap the energy right out of you. I don’t regret any of it, no matter how much my reading goals may be crashing and burning, how many new releases I’m behind on, how few Hugo categories I’ll be able to read this year. It’s all good.

Once I’m finally off work (starting at the beginning of July) and before the baby arrives (beginning of September) I hope to catch up on some of those books I’ve been looking forward to but if I don’t, that’s also okay.

After all, I have you guys to keep me up to date on what’s coming out next, which books I absolutely must not miss, which ones were disappointing, and which awards are being given out. I cannot wait to start the adventure that is the second half of 2022. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Time to Freak Out! The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2022

  1. Jordyn @ Birdie's Book Nook says:

    God, I remember how tired I was throughout my entire pregnancy. I just wanted to nap and eat LOL. AS FOR BOOOOOOOOOKS, YOU HAVE MY FAVORITE KINGFISHER BOOK COMING UP — Paladin’s Strength. It’s soooo good. I’m jealous you get to read it for the first time! Great wrap up, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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