Title in white on book pages

This is a tag that’s been around a while, possibly created by  Read Like Wildfire and Earl Grey Books (hard to work out with something this old!) I saw it on Lorraine/Geeky Galaxy’s blog.

We’re halfway through the year, so time to have a quick look over the last sixth months.

Best Book You’ve Read so far in 2022

Book cover for TWIN CROWNS: title in gold on two girls back to back with crown held between them

TWIN CROWNS, by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber, was the biggest YA fantasy of early summer. It was incredibly hyped, a fantasy romance with comedic elements about twin sisters separated at birth – one now heir to the throne, and one raised by the persecuted witches. The witch sister kidnaps the princess sister, and then impersonates her.

I buddy read this book, and it was so hard not to race ahead, but rather stick to the agreed schedule. It’s funny and swoony and this incredible blend of fantasy tropes.

Best Sequel You’ve Read so far in 2022

Book cover for RIVALS ON THE TRACK: title in black on green above dark horses racing in a red roman stadium

I actually keep a running list of fave reads throughout the year, so that I have a list for the end of the year (and so it’s more reflective of the overall year, rather than just being the end of year books.) I was skimming through it for this tag and realised there are barely any sequels on it – it’s mostly standalones and first books in series!

RIVALS ON THE TRACK, by Annelise Gray, is one of those few sequels. The sequel to RACE TO THE DEATH, it takes us back to the world of Ancient Roman chariot racing for another exhilarating read about this ancient sport.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, but Want to

Book cover for THE MISFIT SOLDIER: title in purple below an armoured soldier on a purple planet

THE MISFIT SOLDIER, by Michael Mammay, is a tad of a cheat here. It’s been out in the US since March (I think) but only May in the UK (and then there were delays, so really only a few weeks.) So it’s not like it’s a title I’ve been sitting on for a while!

However, that pedantry aside, I really like his PLANETSIDE trilogy (and finally finished it this year) so I am looking forward to another military sci-fi from him. This one is less of a military sci-fi (mystery) thriller about space military politics, and more about a heist and a gang of misfits.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

Book cover for DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS: title in white on blue graphic of girl with snakes hair in gold roundel

I have a list of 10 books that fit this prompt coming out in a few days, so here’s a little sneak peak!

DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS, by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr, is the latest book from this UKYA fantasy sister duo. It is published in August, so there’s not too long to go now, but I do wish the time would hurry up and give it to me!

This book is set in Ancient Greece, and is inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, about a girl sent to recover Eurydice on Orpheus’ behalf.

Biggest Disappointment

I love CHILDREN OF TIME, so I was excited for CHILDREN OF RUIN, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (and then, naturally, didn’t read it for almost three years!) CHILDREN OF TIME is this very clever story about evolution and survival, set across centuries with two main stories happening in parallel (and across different time scales.)

By comparison, CHILDREN OF RUIN felt really scattered, alternating between past and present in big chunks that didn’t feel connected, rather than interlinking the two. It doesn’t feel like the two stories are going to come together in the way CHILDREN OF TIME has an inevitability driving you toward the finale.

Biggest Surprise

Book cover for A LADY'S GUIDE TO FORTUNE-HUNTING: title in blue on yellow silhouette of a woman with a feathered hat

No one has ever called me a romance fan – it’s just not my cup of tea. However, I was verging on a burnout once uni was over, and reading a completely different genre (and finding a book I like within that genre) can help. So I picked up A LADY’S GUIDE TO FORTUNE HUNTING, by Sophie Irwin.

This is a Regency Romance that actually feels very light on the romance. It felt more like the focus was Kitty’s schemes to marry a rich man to save the family home. I loved her sharp wit and cold-eyed pragmatism.

Favourite New Author

Book cover for THE STARDUST THIEF: title in black on textured white with fire-surrounded gold medalion

I’ve been excited for THE STARDUST THIEF, by Chelsea Abdullah, since it was announced. I love quests as I grew up on classic fantasy like Tolkien and Eddings, so a magic lamp quest attempted by a pretty ragtag (and untrusting of one another) team is a sure way to sell a book to me.

The book is inspired by folklore and oral story telling traditions from Kuwait, and is filled with excerpts from stories scattered between the main story itself. There are also ghouls – lots of dangerous ghouls – and a moment where I started screaming because how dare the author?!

Newest Fictional Crush

I don’t tend to get any crushes, fictional or otherwise, so skipping this one!

Newest Favourite Character

Book cover for THE LUMINARIES: title in swirling gold on black above stag's skull with flowers and leaves emerging from within

I don’t know if Winnie Wednesday from THE LUMINARIES, by Susan Dennard, counts as a new character, given we all met (and played) a version of her when the author did her “chose-Your-Own-Adventure” based on this idea a few years ago.

However, I loved reading about this familiar and yet not familiar character when I read the book (which is again very different and yet familiar to the twitter game!) Book Winnie is certainly a lot more cohesive and consistent than twitter hivemind Winnie ever had a chance of being!

Book That Made You Cry

I don’t really cry when reading books, so I’m going to skip this one too!

Book that Made You Happy

Book cover for THE EMBROIDERED BOOK: title in white on blue that looks like a leather cover with embroidery

THE EMBROIDERED BOOK, by Kate Heartfield, felt like a book so perfectly designed for me. It’s a historical fantasy that takes real world events and follows them quite closely, adding an additional layer to it with the inclusion of magic.

This books is set around the lives of Marie-Antoinette and her sister Charlotte, who both married kings/heirs of powerful European monarchies. But there are secret societies of magicians at war influencing politics, and their activities – and the girls’ involvement with them – will lead to revolution.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought or Received so far this Year

Book cover for A RIVER ENCHANTED: title in white in a blue paper-cut esque river with purple flowers around it

I actually have several copies of A RIVER ENCHANTED, by Rebecca Ross (though not as many copies as I have TWIN CROWNS, which has a variety of pretty sprayed edges!) because not only is the book amazing, but it has some pretty covers!

I love the blue and purple with the gold accents on the main cover (right). It matched the slower, gorgeous writing of the book and that feeling of being so familiar and yet not. I also have the red and blue harp version (below) which was an exclusive and captures the music-related magic of the book.

This book was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I love Rebecca Ross’ YA (THE QUEEN’S RISING, THE QUEEN’S RESISTANCE, SISTERS OF SWORD AND SONG, and DREAMS LIE BENEATH) and so was very excited to see what her adult debut would bring. Thankfully, it absolutely managed to live up to my expectations.

It is a Scottish inspired multi-POV fantasy about protecting an island split by warring clans and the complicated ties between people. I loved the character dynamics so much and am very glad that the sequel is out this year so I don’t have to wait too much longer for the next book!

What Books do you Need to Read by the End of the Year?

Book cover for THE FIRST KINGDOM: title in white on navy with gold line decorations

I have all of Max Adams’ books, which are four non-fiction history books about early medieval Britain and Ireland, spanning the Anglo-Saxons, the Britons, and the Celts. I got these are research (and because I am generally interested in that period) so I probably ought to read them sooner rather than later!

I’m not sure which one I’ll start with. I really like the idea of THE FIRST KINGDOM (the post-Roman, pre-Anglo-Saxon/during Anglo-Saxon migration), but it’s not the most relevant to the period I got these to research. Perhaps I’ll start with KING IN THE NORTH (about Northumbria.)

How has your reading been so far this year?

2 thoughts on “Book Tag: MID YEAR FREAK OUT

  1. This is an awesome post, because I don’t recognize any of the authors or titles here, and I’ve been stuck in a bit of a only-reading-my-favourite-authors rut. Thank you for all the new options to check out! (Though I do highly recommend my favourite authors: there’s been new stuff from Rachel Neumeier, Victoria Goddard, and T. Kingfisher, for starters.)

    Liked by 1 person

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