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  • Writer's pictureThe Fiction Fox

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag 2019

It’s the end of June, which means we’re currently almost half way through the year, as scary a thought as that is to me… Reading-wise, 2019 has been pretty good to me, as I read 61 books so far, with an average rating of 3.8 stars. That high average rating is mostly due to the sheer number of 4-star books I read this years, and I feel like that represents the overall vibe of my 2019 in books: very good but not quite a new favorite. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the highlights and lowpoints of my reading year so far:

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019?

This question feels especially hard this year as, like I mentioned: I read a lot of great books, but not that many new ones stood out enough to make it to my all time favorite list. In fact there’s only 1 that I can already say definitively did so, so I think it’s only fair to give it this spot in the tag. That book was Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah. It’s a contemporary fiction, which is very hit or miss for me, but this book almost seems made for me with its hints at magical realism and especially the themes it tackles. We follow a biology student who isolates and buries herself in her thesis on birds, in order to cope with the recent loss of her mother, and her own battle with a hereditary cancer. If you’ve been around or know me personally, you’ll probably understand how this got under my skin with regards to my own history and even the events of this year. It’s a novel that so emotional to me, yet so subtle and respectful, and came to me at the exact time I needed it. I highly recommend it, if you’re up for it, as it contains a lot of heavy themes. Including but not limited to the ones mentioned above.

2. Best sequel you’ve read? This is hands down going to Godsgrave by Jay Kristof. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Nevernight Chronicles are a series that shouldn’t work for me. I’m not into goriness, I’m over the assassin-trope and it’s very hard for me to get along with a book if I don’t particularly enjoy the authors writing style. All of those things apply to this series, and yet I somehow still love it. Although I had some issues with Godsgrave, I still gave it 4 stars and really enjoyed reading it, especially considering my history with being disappointed by sequels.

3. New release you haven’t gotten to, but want to:? I have 3 answers for this one, so I’m not going into details on all of them, but you can click them to check out their Goodreads descriptions. - Middlegame by Seannan McGuire - On Earth we’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong - How to Make Friends with the Dark – Kathleen Glassgow

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2019?

My most anticipated release of the entire year is still not out yet, so clearly that’s going to be my answer. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. Will pre-order. Cannot wait. Other than that, I have a full section on my website all about releases that are on my radar, which I’ll link here.

5. Biggest disappointment? Unfortunately, this was very easy, as I’m still not over how hard I got burned by this book. It was actually on my anticipated list for 2019, but ended up being the only book I gave 1 star this year. I’m talking about Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. I wrote a full review on it, so for now I’ll stick to saying: it was my least favorite read in a long long time.

6. Biggest surprise?

My biggest surprise was a middle grade novel that I picked up completely on a whim, but completely stole my heart in the end. It’s also extremely, extremely underrated (seriously, how does this book have only 100 ratings?!). August Isle by Ali Standish, is a middle grade novel that tackles some heavy and difficult in an incredible way, whilst also putting a smile on my face with the amazing depiction of heartwarming friendship and family love. I truly think this is one that readers both young and old can enjoy.

7. New favorite author (either debut or new to you)? I had to think long and hard about this. I don’t have a single author on my list that had multiple winners this year. Out of my five-star reads we have: David Vann, Michel Faber, Kirsty Logan, Max Porter and Blake Crouch; all of which I’ve read and loved before. That leaves me with Glendy Vanderah, Ali Standish, M.L. Rio, Liz Moore and Pat Barker, who got five stars ánd were new to me. Based on a single book from all of them, I don’t feel comfortable yet calling any of them a new favorite. If I had to give an answer, it would be one of them though.

8. Newest fictional crush? I don’t have an answer to this question. I feel like I rarely crush in real life, let alone on fictional characters, so no idea…

9. New favorite character? I really loved and related to the three main characters of Where the Forest Meets the Stars. However, for the sake of not repeating myself on every question, I’m going with pretty much the full cast of another book: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. I know this was a disappointing read to many, but it gave me major Six of Crows vibes, and maybe for that reason I very much enjoyed it. All the characters have quite distinct personalities, but their group dynamic is what sold it to me.

10. A book that made you cry & A book that made you laugh? I’m going to take these two questions together, as they have the same answer for me. As far as the crying part goes: books can often make me feel a lot of things, but the number of books to have physically made me cry can be counted on one hand. This year, I didn’t read any, so I’m going to answer this as “book that made me feel stuff”. In this case, that “stuff” was on both sides of the happiness-spectrum. I’m talking about This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. It’s a non-fiction biography by a former gynaecologist, who chronicles his experiences in the English healthcare system, mostly whilst working as a resident and registrar. Although the Dutch medical system is a little different from the English one, there are many similarities, and as someone working in that system, this hit me harder than I was expecting. Adam Kay manages to depict the double edged sword that is a love of medicine in a way that I could really relate to. It’s hilarious at times, and painfully sad at others and heartfelt throughout it all. A full review is to come for this, but I highly recommend anybody who works in the medical field to read this book.

11. Favorite book to movie adaptation? Haven’t seen any. I really want to watch Good Omens (based on the novel of the same name by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) though, but haven’t gotten around to it.

12. Favorite review you’re written? What’s with these difficult questions… I really can’t think of a favorite one… I have the most vivid memories of writing my review on Halibut on the Moon by David Vann as I just had so many thoughts about it. Same (although for different reasons) goes for my recent review of The Poppy War. As far as posts go I’m really enjoying my Books-in-Pairs series, as it allows be to talk about books with a bit of a twist.

13. Most beautiful book you acquired so far this year? One of the prettiest books I actually acquired is the hardcover edition of Halibut on the Moon. Not only am I a sucker for the sea-at-night esthetic, it also has a deliciously velvety dustjacket. Also, I want to mention City of Woven Streets by Emmi Itaranta. Not just because it’s pretty but because I loved it, but couldn’t fit it in any other category in this tag.

14. Books you still need to read before the end of the year? Clearly, there are many of them, as my Goodreads TBR-shelf can confirm… From the top of my head, here are five that I’m currently most excited to get to. - Middlegame by Seannan McGuire - A Winters Promise by Christelle Dabos - When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore - Bridges of Clay by Markus Zusak - House of Glass by Susan Fletcher

These are one of my favorite video’s to watch on Booktube, so I hope you enjoyed hearing my answers to the questions. I’d love to know: what was the best book you read so far this year. Happy reading for the rest of 2019, I hope to see you back again soon.


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