Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2018

I’ve gotten into the habit of doing this tag every year around this time, and I think a couple other bloggers are doing so too. It’s a nice little round up of the year so far.

This tag was created by ReadLikeWildFire (a booktuber) and Ely Jayne (a blogger).

Best book I’ve read so far:

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus, illus. by James Jean

I couldn’t choose just one. Kintu was a great read. It’s a family saga set in and about Uganda that spans from the year 1750 to 2004. In that way, it’s historical fiction but also contains some magical realism. I enjoyed this book. I loved it for how it’s written, for how the story is told, and that it’s unapologetic about how it relays the tale. I had such a hard time writing my review that I instead wrote about my experience reading it and left it at that.

The Shape of Water was also a great read. It too is written well. It’s a paranormal, historical fiction, romance novel set at a government facility in Baltimore that houses an amphibious man who captures the attention of a female janitor. Oh, this story enchanted me. I love the writing and appreciated the story. I loved the movie when I saw it and am glad for this novel version because it provides some depth to the antagonist.

Best sequel I’ve read so far:

The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb

Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

The second and third books in the Tawney Man trilogy, a fantasy trilogy that is part of the larger Realm of the Elderlings series. It follows the Farseer trilogy and the Liveship Traders trilogy. Oh my gosh! I think this is my favorite of Hobb’s trilogies. I love reading from Fitz’s perspective and enjoyed reading about everything that occurred in these books. I think The Golden Fool is my favorite of Hobb’s books so far.

New release I haven’t read yet but want to:

A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising by Raymond A. Villareal

It’s a novel about a disease that leads to vampirism. It sounds awesome and makes me think of The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, which I loved, so I hope this will be great too.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

Relay, #1 by Zac Thompson, illus. by Andy Clarke with colors by Dan Brown

These two were the only ones to come to mind. If there are any more soon-to-be-released books I’m eager about, I’ve since forgotten about them. I enjoyed Heart of the Wyld and liked Eames’s writing, so I’d like to try Bloody Rose when it comes out in August. And I picked up Relay, #0 on Free Comic Book Day and really liked it, so I’ll get the first issue when it’s out in July.

Biggest disappointment:

School for Psychics by K.C. Archer

A paranormal novel about a girl who is recruited for a government operative boot camp for psychics. It sounded interesting and I wanted to like it, but I had no patience for the numerous inconsistencies in the story so I gave up. I read an ARC copy so chances are the inconsistencies were cleared up before its publication.

Biggest surprise:

The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

A paranormal romance novel set in upstate New York that I didn’t expect to fall in love with but I did. I hardly read romance novels and usually get annoyed by them, but I’ve been on a roll so far this year and have been enjoying, for the most part, the few romance novels I’ve read.

Favorite new author (debut or new to me):

Daniel Kraus

Juliet Dark a.k.a. Carol Goodman

Yup! These two because I enjoyed both their writing and storytelling talents in their books. I was introduced to Kraus through The Shape of Water, which he co-wrote with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. I adored the writing in that book and want to read a novel solely by Kraus to see if I really like him as an author.

Juliet Dark is the pseudonym for Carol Goodman, who I discovered through the Fairwick Chronicles, which begins with The Demon Lover. The stories are simple and fun and I enjoyed them. They make me want to visit upstate New York.

Newest fictional crush


Newest favorite character:

Jane McKeene

Jane McKeene is the protagonist in Justina Ireland’s YA alt-historical fiction novel, Dread Nation, which is set shortly after the U.S. Civil War and is about an African American girl trying to stay alive and save her friends while fighting off zombies. I really enjoyed reading this story and loved that the protagonist is a total badass. I’m on the lookout for the next book in the series.

Book that made me cry:

Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

It’s the last book in the Tawney Man trilogy and, oh, it almost made me cry. There are so many moments when I was tempted to shed a tear. So many! I’m just glad I read it with Emily @ Embuhlee liest so I could talk about it all with her.

Book that made me happy:

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus, illus. by James Jean

It’s actually not a happy book but I felt so happy while reading it because it’s written so well and is so descriptive that I kept highlighting things and repeating phrases and sentences to feel the rhythm of them. I loved, loved, lOVEd the writing and want more of it. It made me so happy. 😀

Favorite book to film adaptation I saw this year:

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus, illus. by James Jean

Does this count? It’s the inverse of this category because The Shape of Water was first made a movie, which I watched in December last year, and then published as a book this year. I prefer movie-to-book adaptations, I think. I’m less likely to be disappointed that way, and the book version of The Shape of Water gave much more depth to the characters which I appreciated.

Favorite review I’ve written this year:

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

— A magical realism, historical fiction family saga set in Uganda about a family that suffers from a curse. The story spans from 1750 to 2004 and shows how Uganda changes over the years. I loved this book so much that I was unable to fully articulate what I thought about it. Instead, I focused on my experience reading the book.

Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess (illus.)

— I read this illustrated novel last year but posted my review this year. It’s a sci-fi novel set in the future, I think, during a second Ice Age, it seems. It’s about a young man trying to find his father, a famous explorer, who had gotten lost in the icy wilderness. I liked the story but loved the art. They were breathtaking and totally worth picking up the book. I hope to see more illustrated novels from Manchess and other authors/illustrators as well.

Audubon: On the Wings of the World by Fabien Grolleau, illus. by Jérémie Royer, trans. by Etienne Gilfillan

— A biographical graphic novel about famed ornithologist, naturalist, and artist, John James Audubon. I enjoyed reading this and learned loads about Audubon, who I didn’t know was a real dude before reading this. I knew of the Audubon Society, the nonprofit, but I thought “Audubon” was just a word that meant “bird;” lol.

Most beautiful book I’ve bought so far this year (or received):

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Circe by Madeline Miller (U.K. edition)

I’ve wanted that edition of The Joy Luck Club ever since Penguin published it in the Orange edition line. I love the illustrations on the cover and love running my fingers over it.

I ordered the U.K. edition of Circe from Book Depository because it’s so beautiful, even without the dust cover. Just look how pretty it is!!! 😀 Of course, I’ve yet to get it, but I’m hopeful that it’s on it’s way to me and I’ll get it soon so I can admire its gorgeousness.

Books do I need to read by the end of the year:

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

The Stand by Stephen King

There are many books I feel the need to complete before the end of the year, but these three were the ones that immediately came to mind: Horrorstör because I’ve always been interested in it and now finally have the book; Under the Pendulum Sun because I’m curious about the story; and The Stand because I’m reading King’s books in order and it’s next.

That’s my year so far.
What are you currently reading and what’s your favorite book of the year so far?

25 thoughts on “Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2018

  1. I love Fitz and the Fool! And I need to get Above the Timberline- from what I’ve seen of it it looks awesome. Circe looks good to me too.

    Bummer about School for Psychics. 😦


    1. Oh man! Above the Timberline was great for the art. I recommend it for that. The story was ok but the art was awesome!
      And I can’t get enough of Fitz and the Fool. So great.


  2. Oh, you are reading King’s books in order? That’s pretty cool! I’ve picked up his books here and there, but I figure it’s good to get all the references, if you read in publication order. And he references everything 😀 Even if it’s just tiny things. It’s fun to get it. ‘The Stand’ is one of his best books, if you ask me. I am still looking for similar stories. The setting is just excellent.

    Ii think I really need to watch ‘The Shape of Water’.


    1. Oh I didn’t even think of the references. Thanks for mentioning that. Was reading in pub order to see how his writing develops. A lot of folks say the Stand is really good. So far my fav is the Shining.

      Yes!! Watch it! It’s really good.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are??!! 🤣😆🤣 I’m so happy that you’re reading Kintu! That brought a smile to my face. It’s such a good book. Glad you’re liking it.
      Yes!! Def give Shape of Water a go. I think you’ll like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for a great post – I’m looking forward to “Bloody Rose” as well. My only complaint on this one is that it’s not being released in Hardcover. “A People’s History Of The Vampire Uprising” also looks really interesting. Cheers, Brian


  4. I just finished Inkmistress and loved it! I am so glad The Shape of Water book was such a hit with you. I wanted to love it and enjoyed the writing, but it was a rare case of loving the film so much more for me so I fell flat into the middle with my rating. This tag is just so fun!


    1. Inkmistress?! I love that title. First I’m hearing of it though but glad to know it’s good.
      Aww man, but I totally get you about liking the movie more. I think the film was better in some parts, like when they were sneaking out the creature. I preferred it in the movie and also when the bathroom was filled with water n when Eliza forced Giles to listen to her by speaking her words n when she n the creature couldn’t fully communicate what they wanted to say to each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Funny you mentioned Circe by Madeline Miller. I just bought it at Barnes & Noble today. 🙂

    My reading year has been a little on the… weird side, I guess? I’ve only read 5 or 6 brand new books, and right now I’d say my two favorite 2018 books are Side By Side by Jenni L. Walsh and The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton. But I’ve also read some AWESOME older books, and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn is easily tops there. I still can’t believe I’ve never read any of his stories until a couple months ago!

    Btw, did you change your blog theme recently? It looks different – and very pretty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol my Circe copy is a total cover buy but I can’t wait to try Miller’s work.

      Oh, I’ve never heard of those books before. Is Price Guide a humor novel? It sounds familiar but the title makes me think it’s humor.

      Yup I did 🤣🤣 Well, sorta. I changed the background image. I wanted something fresh, light, and different.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe “Pride Guide” sounds familiar because I wrote a quick paragraph about it in my most recent blog post? 😉 But it’s actually quite dark; YA magical realism with a little bit of horror. It’s about a girl in a family of witches who has to find a way to save the tourist island where she lives after her mother publishes a book of spells that wrecks havoc on the world at large. So it’s not at all humorous, but haunting and well written.

        Nice! I like the new background a lot. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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