It is time once again for that most sacred of book blogging activities, the Mid Year Freak Out Tag. Now, I’ve done this every year since I started Literary Weaponry and I have to admit my answers each year are nothing short of laughable. I just looked back on the last few years and not only does my post style change but apparently my tastes see-saw widely as well. What a joy. I look forward to looking back on this post in years to come and wonder what I thought I was thinking.
Anyway…here is my 2021 mid year tag. There have been some real highs and lowest lows but overall it has been a great year.
Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1) by Hannah Whitten – The first time I saw this book it was pitched as being inspired by little red riding hood. And while reading it you can catch the hints of that inspiration it goes so much farther than I ever dreamed. This has been my favorite read so far this year and I can’t recommend this beautiful adult/new adult fantasy enough.
Neon Gods (Dark Olympus #1) by Katee Robert – One of my favorite things is reading Hades retellings and I think this is the best one I’ve ever read. The perfect balance of plot, drama, and the erotic elements I’ve come to expect from Robert. I loved this retelling and can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Malice (Malice Duology #1) by Heather Walter – My top books of the first half of the year seem to have a theme, all three are retellings as this one is a retelling/origin story of Maleficent. This story was just as magnificent as it was heart breaking. You know how Maleficent’s story ends up, but seeing what leads her there is nothing short of amazing. This story blew me away.
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021
- Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows Duology #2) by Leigh Bardugo – I had put off reading this book for years because when I originally read Six of Crows, well, I didn’t really like it. I am happy to say that on upon my reread of Crows that I adored it and immediate jumped into Crooked Kingdom. This one was a little bit slower moving but it showed a lot more character growth which I loved. I just love these crazy folks from Ketterdam.
- An Unexpected Peril (Veronica Speedwell #6) by Deanna Raybourn – Each new book in this series just makes it better and better. I can’t help but love it. Veronica, Stoker, and all of the amazing side characters are just so vibrant and alive and the mysteries for each story never cease to stump me. If you love a historical mystery with a brilliant yet sassy female lead then I cannot recommend this series enough.
- The Mask Falling (The Bone Season #4) by Samantha Shannon – I absolutely adore these books. The Bone Season was the book that got me back into reading as an adult and it holds a very special place in my heart. This latest addition to the series showed the most character growth I have seen yet from this cast and focused mainly on my two lovelies, Paige and Warden. The end of this book darn near broke me in the best way. Just perfection.
New release you haven’t read yet, but want to
- Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
- The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
- Bone Criers Dawn (Bone Grace #2) by Kathryn Purdie
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
- Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson – Rogerson is one of my very few auto buy authors, I may love to read but it is okay to be picky, too. Rogerson’s writing just pulls me in, no matter what world she is plunking me down in. Her vivid story telling is superb and The Vibes are always fabulous. I’ve already preordered my copy of Vespertine and can’t wait to settle in this fall to start reading it.
- A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw – I am fairly certain that Shea Ernshaw is my only other auto buy author. What gets me is that the descriptions for her books do nothing for me. However, I stumbled into The Wicked Deep a few years ago and it completely blew me away. I’ve read that book probably six times now I love it so much. Then came her Winterwood. Again, the description did nothing for me and I had decided not to read it. Then it came in a book subscription box so I ended up giving it a try and I absolutely could not put it down. The atmosphere Ernshaw builds is unreal, the stories are fascinating, the characters just reach out and touch you they feel so alive. I haven’t even read the description for this one but I’m going to read it anyway.
- A Game of Retribution (Hades Saga #2) by Scarlett St Clair – I very much enjoy St Clair’s Hades & Persephone series but, truth be told, I like the first book in this companion series better. This follows the same characters and time line as Hades & Persephone but it is told form Hades point of view rather than Persephone’s which is far more interesting. Instead of getting a whiny good girl POV we get the POV of the lord of the underworld. How could that NOT be better?
A Touch of Malice (Hades & Persephone #3) by Scarlett St Clair – So, I know I just got done saying how much I enjoy this series by St Clair bbbuuutttt…this third installment was a huge let down. The plot stagnated, there was considerable character regression, and Persephone was even more annoying than usual. I know St Clair can do better so this won’t stop me from picking up the next book in the series but I can’t lie and say that this particular installment was fantastic.
Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) Janella Angeles – Do ya’ll remember the hype that popped up around this book because I sure do. It was everywhere so when I read it I had certain expectations. But, wow, I think this is one of the biggest let downs I have ever read. The main character was so self absorbed and thrived on using the people around her, the “big bad” was pretty much non existent, and what even was that supposed love interest? Weak. No thanks. This book was just terrible. I can’t think of a single nice thing to say out it other than the cover artist really made it look pretty. Kudos to great cover art selling us all bad books.
A Vow so Bold and Deadly (Cursebreakers #3) by Brigid Kemmerer – Technically I gave this book a 2.5 but, honestly, that .5 was just to sooth my broken heart. I absolutely adored the first two books in this trilogy and was so pumped when I finally got to read this concluding novel! Unfortunately it was a monumental let down. Characters behaving out of character, making stupid and horrible decisions, the supposed plot barely hanging on by a thread, and lets not even begin to discuss that fizzled out ending. I stand by my previous statements that the first two books in this series are fantastic, because they are, but this third one could have used a full re-write.
Malice by Heather Walter – I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I decided to read Malice. I knew it was a Maleficent origin story, sure. I knew it was supposedly on the more new adult/adult spectrum but I just, well, didn’t know what to expect. What happened is that I was blown away. This book had great flow, character development, and it really reached out and yanked on your sympathy and heart strings and made you hurt. You know how Maleficent ends up but how does her story begin? Malice delivers and at a very high standard.
Favourite new author (debut or new to you)
Hannah Whitten and Scarlett St Clair both stand out in my mind. I’ve read Whitten’s debut, For the Wolf, and was completely swept up in the story which was fantastic. I also started reading St Clair’s Hades & Persephone books this year which scratch a major itch in the list of my reading preferences. Very pleased to have the opportunity to read form both of these authors.
Newest favourite character
Hades from Neon Gods. Look. I told you, I have a thing for Hades retellings. I read nearly every one I come across and I have to say, Neon Gods has done Hades the best of everything I’ve read. He is a larger than life persona with a soft spot he only lets out in certain situations while still being sexy as hell. Yum yum.
Book that made you cry
Heres the thing, I tend to cry when I’m really angry. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has made me that level of furious. One that maybe poked my heart strings a bit was The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon. I won’t spoil it but I’ll just say those last couple chapters were gutting.
Book that made you happy
Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston. This was my first read of the year and it was such a purely enjoyable YA fantasy. You knew there was going to be a happy ending, Poston would provide nothing less, so you didn’t have to stress about the ending. This book was well written, entertaining, and a delightful way to start 2021 for me.
The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
All three of these books are just absolutely beautiful. The US version of Ariadne is sadly lacking but this UK cover is absolutely stunning. Then we have the gothic vibes of The Lights of Prague which is fabulous in it’s own dark way which is something I am absolutely down with. Then there is Liberte which is once again beautiful (UK edition shown). All three of this are a delight to look at.
What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Look, have you seen my TBR? At the beginning of the year I had pared it down to under 200 and it has ballooned since then. Lets not look at it. I’ll just read what I read and try my best to be happy with it.
Favourite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year?
Ya’ll, I don’t really watch movies. I don’t have the attention span to sit still and stare at a screen for that long. I think I’ve watched two movies this year, neither were an adaptation, and one was so bad it was hilarious (Dracula Untold) and the other was one I’ve rewatched a few times over the years because it is a dear favorite (Tombstone).
Well, there she is folks! The Mid Year Freakout Tag. Are there some repeat titles on my list? Yes, absolutely, because there are a few books I’ve read this year that have blown my mind and it is just a joy to celebrate them.
Heres to hoping that the second half of 2021 gives me as many great reads as the first half!