Thursday, August 26, 2021

Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag (2021)

Yeah, yeah, it's the end of August, so we're past the true middle of the year, but whatever.  I saw this on Coffee, Classics, and Craziness, and again on I'm Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read), and it looked fun, so I'm doing it too :-D  Because I haven't done a tag in like... months.  And I love tags.

I'm linking all titles to my own blog reviews when available.  All pictures are mine from my Instagram account.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021:  This is very hard because I've read/reread some awesome books this year.  I'll just go with The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas because it was even more wonderful than I was remembering.  For the last couple hundred pages, I would pause reading at least once a chapter just to revel in how much I was loving it.  Which sometimes involved small bounces or squeals of joy, and other times involved hugging the book.  Or taking a deep breath.  Or just grinning a lot.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021:  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling, which is my favorite Harry Potter book.  Oh, my goodness, it is so delightful!

And, yes, a lot of the reason it's my favorite is because Sirius Black is my favorite character in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Unquestionably.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:  Ignite by Jenna Terese.  I had it in my sidebar here as "currently reading," but it wasn't quite the right book for me right now, so I've set it aside for a bit.  I hope to read it soon, though!  It's Christian indie fiction about superheroes!  I'm sure I will enjoy it when I'm in the right mood.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:  The London House by Katherine Reay!  I'm so excited to see what she does with historical fiction.

Biggest disappointment in 2021:  Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.  At least it was short.

Biggest surprise in 2021:  Probably Caraval by Stephanie Garber, because YA fantasy is not my usual thing, but I inhaled that book in 2 days.  The sequels were good too, but didn't grab me as hard as that first one.  My goodness, it was such a delicious, dizzying ride!

Favorite new author in 2021:  Emily Hayse!  I absolutely adored These War-Torn Hands and want to read more of hers ASAP.  I'm eagerly anticipating the next book in this series, The Beautiful Ones, but I'm also interested in reading some of her previous books, even though they're not westerns :-o

Newest fictional crush/ship: For ship, it's Rue and Robbie in Wait Until Tomorrow by Jenni Sauer.  They were such a sweet, supportive, kind couple!

For crush, well, Declan in On These Black Sands by Vanessa Rasanen was awfully lunchable.  

Newest favorite character: Jack Selby in These War-Torn Hands by Emily Hayse.  My goodness, he was marvelous.  He made me cry, melt, cheer, sigh... all the things.  I can't wait to read more about him.

Book that made you cry in 2021: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling hit me a lot harder this time around than I was expecting.  Not just the death at the end, but so much of the growing-up stuff that Harry, Ron, and Hermione go through made me tear up a lot.

Book that made you happy in 2021: I reread Shane by Jack Schaefer while in Wyoming this summer, and it was glorious.  My goodness, that book gets better and better every time I reread it.  (And yes, I took this photo in Wyoming.)

Favorite book-to-film adaption you saw in 2021:  Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) is probably my answer for "best book-to-movie adaptation" of all time.  I rewatched it this year for the first time in quite a while and it is still magnificent.  I'm considering starting to reread Patrick O'Brian's books once I finish the Harry Potter series.  

Favorite bookish post you’ve done so far in 2021: It's not a single post, but I really enjoyed leading the Sense and Sensibility read-along this past spring!  We had so many good discussions about the characters, storylines, Jane Austen's writing, the era it takes place -- good times :-)

Most beautiful book you bought so far in 2021:  My Seasons edition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  It's almost too pretty to touch.  Good thing it came with a protective vinyl sleeve so I don't have to worry about ruining the paper dustjacket!

Books you need to read by the end of the year:  The last two Harry Potter books because I want to reread the whole series in one year :-)  I'm working on Order of the Phoenix right now, but I don't know that I'll finish it by the end of August.  I might, though!  We'll see.

How about you?  Have you had any spectacular reads this year?  Did you do this tag yourself already?  If so, leave a link in the comments so we can read it!


  1. So glad you did this tag, Rachel! Your answers were great fun to read! :D :D

    Prisoner of Azkaban is just so, so good. Remus Lupin is *heart eyesssss*

    Jack Selby from These War-Torn Hands was quite intriguing, and I'm looking forward to learning more about his past in the next books. Raymond was my favorite <333 And Jesse really made me laugh.

    1. Katie, glad you had fun reading this!

      Yeah, Lupin is pretty awesome too :-D

      I am now terribly worried that Jack Selby is going to die horribly in the next book (or the one after that, or the one after that...) because whenever I fall in love with a minorish secondary character, they have a tendency to keel over on me (see: Sirius Black, Boromir, et al.)

      Raymond is my second-favorite, and Jesse Thatcher rounds out my top 3 :-)

  2. Wait, I had no idea Katherine Reay was publishing another book! Must check this out immediately. :)

    Ugh, Heart of Darkness is the WOOOORST. I had to read it for school, and it may be my least favorite book read for school ever, which is saying something, because it's vying for that title with books such as Walden.

    Oh man, I need to watch M&C:FSW again. That movie is amazing.

    1. Samantha, yup! Reay is an auto-buy author for me, and I'm really looking forward to The London House.

      I don't like Walden either! When I got to the part where he wants to eat a woodchuck raw, I lost all respect and sympathy for Thoreau. I have seen too many woodchucks to accept that idea.

      M&C:FSW is always a good idea :-D

  3. It's so cool how much you enjoyed Caravel. <3 And thanks for mentioning Katherine Reay's new book! I added it to my tbr on Goodreads. (Even though I've yet to read her last newest one, the one about the bookshop.)

    I haven't read any of the Master & Commander books, but the movie is SO GOOD.

    1. Eva, I think maybe Caraval grabbed me so hard because I DON'T usually read YA fantasy, so it was dizzyingly different?

      Printed Letter Bookshop isn't Reay's last book -- the last one was Of Literature and Lattes, which is the sequel to PLB. I liked PLB better, but OLaL was enjoyable too.

    2. Wow, I *am* rather behind in reading her books then. :D

  4. I tried reading Patrick O'Brien. I read Master & Commander and partway through the second book, but they just didn't capture my interest. I may pick them up again someday, although, to be honest, if I am in the mood for 1800s naval battles, I probably will try Horatio Hornblower first before cycling back to Patrick O'Brien.

    There is absolutely no way I could pick a "favorite new author" for this year. I have tried so many new indie authors, and off the top of my head I can think of 3 I absolutely adored, and there probably is another one or two I have momentarily forgotten. And that's only indie authors, probably there is a new more traditionally published author that I have loved too. That's not a bad thing, though. I have read a lot of really good books this year!

    1. Roxann, I tried reading the Hornblower books and found them terribly dry, but my bff has read all of them, so YMMV? I adore the Hornblower movies starring Ioan Gruffudd, though. But I've read all 20 of the Aubrey & Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian. To each their own!

      That's awesome that you're discovering so many new-to-you authors! Very cool. I love years that are filled with excellent reads!

  5. Great books! I've been curious about the Black Sands one.

    1. Thanks, Skye! I think you might dig On These Black Sands. It's a fun and exciting romp, with a little Deep Emotion here and there.

  6. Two points of agreement -- The Count of Monte Cristo, and Heart of Darkness. The latter may be a short tale, but it drags along so...slowly...that reading the book may be more painful than actually making the journey described in the the story. I did read the Hornblower books, but I haven't read Patrick O'Brien's books.
    My favorite re-read for the year so far has been Warlord of Mars. I always enjoy a good visit to Barsoom and they are quick adventure reads that have intriguing elements for me.
    In case you're interested in any of my other books (I know you read Smoke), all of my ebooks on Amazon will be available for only 99 cents on Sept 9 and 10 only.

    1. Stanley, I'm so glad I'm not the only person un-wowed by Heart of Darkness. Oh man, so long. So wandering. Sigh.

      I've read 3 or 4 Burroughs novels, including the first John Carter book, but I haven't read that one. His books are rollicking adventures, for sure!

      Thanks for the heads-up on your book sale :-)


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