“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.
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!