“As they neared the corner, Mungo halted and shrugged the man’s hand from his shoulder.”First line in Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
I’m unusually late this year, but I’m finally doing this year’s edition of the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!
My reading in 2022 hasn’t exactly been great in terms of the quality of the books. I’ve read a total of 34 books and excluding my three rereads, my average rating is 3.3. That’s low, even for me. I’ve only had three 5-star reads (again excluding rereads)!! Technically I had four but one had sequels more worthy of being burnt so I no longer think of that first one as a 5-star read. However, on the bright side, it wasn’t that hard for me to fit all the books I liked into this post…
What is the best book that you’ve read so far in 2022?
I thought I had my answer for this but it turns out that the reason this post is so late is that I didn’t read my best book until five days ago. And that is Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart. It’s literary fiction set in Glasgow and follows the boy Mungo living in the less respectable part of the city with an alcoholic mother and a gang leader brother. I really loved how the family was portrayed because it was so real which is rare to see in books trying to depict working-class families. And it was also a deeply depressing book.
What has been your favorite sequel of the first half of the year?
Out of the five sequels I’ve read this year, there isn’t one that I’m super happy to spotlight here. All were rather disappointing but since four of them were absolute trash, I’m left having to mention UnWholly by Neal Shusterman, the sequel to Unwind. Unwind would have been my answer to the previous question had I not read Young Mungo, so it’s still rather fitting. UnWholly still continued the very interesting premise from the first book but I thought the execution felt very rushed. But technically it’s still my favorite sequel of the year so far.
Is there a new release that you haven’t read yet but you’re really excited to?
The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley was my most anticipated release of the year and I have yet to read it! The ebook isn’t out yet and my bookstores don’t have it because they adhere more and more to the slogan of “If BookTok doesn’t know about a book, it doesn’t exist.”
I’ve also yet to read The Hourglass Throne by K. D. Edwards, the third book in The Tarot Sequence, but that is more about me not having dedicated the time to it yet.
What is your most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
Despite not being overly thrilled by the first two books in this trilogy, I’m still very excited to read Greywaren by Maggie Stiefvater. It’s been a very long wait but in October it’s finally here! I need some more Ronan!
What is your biggest disappointment so far?
I’m breaking my rule about only giving one answer per question because I’ve had so many disappointments this year that I deserve the satisfaction of mentioning all of them here. They are: The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper (so pretentious), Sistersong by Lucy Holland (had the potential for so much more), Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (the number of boring characters was too high), The God of Lost Words by A. J. Hackwith (plot set-up was a foreign concept) and the entire Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb (the final book is the worst book I’ve ever read).
What is your biggest surprise so far?
I have a clear winner here in Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Not that I didn’t expect to like this, but it’s a YA book published in 2007. Who wouldn’t be a little vary? As it turned out, I love this more than the first book in his Arc of Scythe trilogy (nothing will ever beat Thunderhead though), and that was such a surprise.
What is your favorite new to you or debut author?
I’ve not had the best of luck with the new authors I’ve tried this year but I want to mention Alexandra Rowland as a success so far. I read A Conspiracy of Truths and while I had a few small issues with it, I really liked the writing, so I don’t think it’s that unlikely that I will love her other books.
Who is your favorite fictional crush from this year?
I don’t really have any this year, but I reread the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden so you can’t begrudge me the opportunity to mention my all-time favorite fictional crush, Morozko 🥰🥰🥰. He’s my choice this year.
Who is your new favorite character?
Ylfing from A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland, and honestly, there was no competition. He checks all the boxes for me by being the sweetest cinnamonroll with such a caring soul. I adored absolutely every scene he was in!
A book that made you cry?
I don’t cry over books so I don’t have an obvious option here. However, I did get a little teary-eyed once while reading To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara so that’s going to have to count. It’s very depressing in general (although not on a level with A Little Life), but it’s more of a dull ache rather than something that brings forth a lot of tears.
(Dis?)Honorable mention: Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb because I was so close to crying tears of joy when I finished that horrible experience.
A book that made you happy?
It was difficult to choose one here but I ended up going with A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske. It’s a book with more of a light-hearted tone than what I usually read and the romance certainly made me very happy.
Your favorite book to movie/tv show that you’ve seen so far?
I haven’t watched anything that was out-of-this-world amazing and in an effort to not just mention Marvel shows for this question every year, I want to talk about a show I don’t see mentioned a lot: Station Eleven. I’ve actually read the book (also a new thing I’m trying with this question) and it was a very 3-star experience for me. I really liked the show, though. Episode 1 had me hooked immediately, although it’s probably its best episode which is a bit unfortunate. However, you still need to watch all of it for Jeevan. He’s amazing in it and I love him. The only real complaint I have about the show is the actress playing the adult Kirsten. I didn’t vibe with her because she was very angsty and I don’t think it fit the tone of the rest of the show. Still, I think the show worked better than the book.
What is your favorite post that you’ve written so far this year?
I’ve written a couple that I put a lot of work into and that I’m really proud of. There are my Eurovision Top Ten and the Books They Make Me Think of and also a recent post where I looked at Zodiac Sign Recommendations. I’m also really happy to have posted my Tour de France Book Tag and my confession about preferring male characters. Both were posts I was quite nervous about posting so I’m really proud of myself for doing it.
However, if I have to name the best thing I’ve posted this year, it would be the Know Your Buddy Tag I did with Naemi @A Book Owl’s Corner. No post will ever be more fun to write!
What is the most beautiful book that you have bought?
I’ve only bought two books so far this year so the choice isn’t hard. Sistersong by Lucy Holland was a book I just needed to own because the cover is stunning! As you read earlier, though, the inside didn’t match the outside so now I need you all to tell me whether you keep books you don’t like just because they’re pretty? Like, insanely pretty.
What are some books you need to read by the end of the year?
Besides the books from my summer TBR, I have a few ongoing series that I would like to complete including Unwind by Neal Shusterman and a Danish trilogy called Mellem Himmel og Helvede by Anne Christine Eriksen. Among the bigger standalone projects, I have Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke and Ordinary Monsters by J. M. Miro (the latter is going to be a trilogy but so far there’s only one).
That was it for this year’s Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! I have to believe that the second half of the year will yield more 5-star books than the first. I can’t continue to be this unlucky. But let me know which books have been your favorites of the year so far. Maybe I can get some inspiration!
9 thoughts on “Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2022”
You finally did this! 🤗 And I have soooo many thoughts!!
First of all, I was already intrigued by Young Mungo when I saw you’d rated it five stars on StoryGraph and got curious enough to read the synopsis, but with this post, I think you’ve firmly cemented it on my TBR. Particularly since you said it focuses a lot on family – that’s always one of my favorite things to see in books! And depressingness sounds great, too, of course 😁 (Although I’m also a bit scared because what if I hate it? Not that I don’t trust your tastes but I have a horrible suspicion Spinning Silver and Fool’s Fate might have jinxed us liking the same books and that I’m about to involuntarily get my revenge on you by being hugely disappointed in The Bedlam Stacks 🙈 I’m 300 pages in and so bored I literally keep falling asleep over it, so that book is going to have to do a whole lot more than giving me Raphael and a child-Mori to still convince me to like it… SORRY! Just prepare yourself that I might hate it, I guess 😅😭)
Speaking of hatred, though, I am proud to say I predicted that list of yours pretty accurately 😇 Even if all the fury directed at Tawny Man in this was also kind of painful to read about 😂 But I really hope the second half of the year picks up for you reading-wise! I think my average rating is currently sitting at about 3.4 and I already feel like I’ve read way too many shitty things this year – so the fact that yours is even lower speaks volumes! 😅 I’m glad you at least had Neal Shusterman provide some quality content!
And Morozko!! You’re totally justified in using rereads in this post just so you could sneak him in 🥰🥰🥰
ALSO, I DID NOT KNOW STATION ELEVEN HAD A TV ADAPTATION! 🤯 That might actually have skipped the queue and cut ahead of Umbrella Academy on what I want to watch next because I LOVE the book 🤩 I mean, what do you expect? It’s dystopian and has Shakespeare in it 😂 So while I’m very skeptical that the show can beat my five-star reading experience, I am very much willing to give it a try!
You’re also spot on about your favorite posts, and I’m glad you weren’t too nervous to post them. The preferring male characters one is still one of my favorite discussions you’ve ever done, and I’m already excited to do your Tour de France Tag! And, of course, I had the best time ever writing the Know Your Buddy Tag with you as well! 💙
Finally, does that Danish series title mean “Between Heaven and Hell” by any chance? Because if yes, that already sounds interesting! (And I hope it ends up having some good sequels 😅)
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I understand how it can be intriguing when I rate something 5 stars because of how rarely it happens 😂 And I do think you’ll like Young Mungo, although we do like very different representations of family. This one might be more up my alley than yours but there are lots of other things to like about the book 😁
And The Bedlam Stacks is very boring, yes, so it’s not a huge surprise to me that you don’t like it. I just really like boring as long as it doesn’t involve children being boring 😅 You also picked the right day to tell me this because I just watched a Dane win Tour de France!!!! I can’t make myself care about anything else today 😂🥳🥳🥳🥳
Also, speaking of Shusterman and not liking the same books: I’m reading UnSouled (the one you’ve said is your favorite) and I must say I’m not seeing it yet but I guess it can surprise me. I’ve definitely identified your favorite character, though 😂
No one is talking about Station Eleven!! I’ve seen it mentioned in none of these tags so I don’t think you’re the only one you’ve missed it. I’m not sure I would have put it ahead of Umbrella Academy, though 😅 I don’t remember much about the book but I watched the show with a feeling that they changed quite a bit. But there is still a lot of Shakespeare! And Jeevan. There’s Jeevan 🥰
And yes, that Danish title means Between Heaven and Hell. The first one set up a lot of interesting stuff so I really hope the sequels follow through 😄
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Well, as long as there’s focus on family, I’m pretty sure I’ll like Young Mungo – although the fact that the book impressed you in that regard already has me bracing myself for lots of dysfunctionalness and heartbreak 😂
And hats of to Denmark for the Tour de France win!!! 🥳🇩🇰🥳 As usual when it comes to cycling, I had absolutely no clue, but I’m still very thankful that alleviated the pain of my news 🤣 (Seriously, though. I was SO bored!! And then the book had all these Western-reminiscent elements that I have an irrational hatred for, so I guess you can already brace yourself for a painful wrap-up, too… 😅)
As for UnSouled, don’t set your expectations too high, though – I think the main reason I liked it most was because it featured my favorite characters more, not because the plot was mind-blowing or anything. There’s a reason why I still like Arc of a Scythe much more, so let’s just say I’d be more than willing to forgive you if this one doesn’t end up being your favorite 😉
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So much heartbreak!
And you really don’t have to worry about your wrap-up! The high from that win isn’t going away any time soon (imagine Germany winning the World Cup – that’s where we Danes are at at the moment 😍) and reading your wrap-up will mean you’re back to posting (😍😍😍) so I’m pretty sure I can handle whatever you write 😁 Also, I have no idea what “Western-reminiscent elements” is a reference too so now I’m quite curious.
And that comment about UnSouled makes me a bit more relaxed 😄 It’s not that I hate it or anything but I don’t think I see much difference between UnSouled and UnWholly. They haven’t been able to replicate what I liked so much about Unwind.
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I’ve been in the middle of reading Young Mungo for the longest time, so seeing that you loved it that much really motivates me to actually READ.
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Well, I’m happy to help 😄 I’m very curious to read your thoughts when you eventually finish, obviously!
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love love love the post !
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