Mid Year Reading Review 2021

As it is (somehow?) over halfway through the year and I saw the Mid Year Freak Out Tag doing the rounds on some book blogs, I thought I’d join in. So here’s what I’ve been reading so far this year. In total I’ve read 20 books but I’m falling behind on my goal to read 45 books this year.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?

Fox & I by Catherine Raven. I’ve read a few new favourites this year but I have to pick this as the best. I wanted to keep reading it forever and felt a huge sense of loss when I finished the book. It follows the true story of how Raven made friends with a fox, along with a view into her remote life surrounded by nature near Yellowstone. Beautiful writing and Raven’s approach to life and difficulties with people really resonated with me. It also made me even more desperate to visit this part of the world.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Loved the first book Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom was a phenomenal ending to the duology. The suspense, the humour, the action and the plot twists were brilliant. I adore all the main characters (be my friends please?) and this was the perfect ending to the series.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

Quite a few on my list, but let’s go with For The Wolf by Hannah Whitten. I can’t resist a new take on a fairytale and this combines both Beauty and the Beast and Red Riding Hood.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

It’s just come out so I’m not sure if it counts, but Goshawk Summer by James Aldred sounds like the perfect read for me so I’m excited to check it out at some point!

Biggest disappointment?

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna. I was really looking forward to reading this as it sounded like an original sci fi and I’d read good things about it in reviews. But I just didn’t gel with the main character (her best friend was much more interesting). She felt flat and the plot didn’t really grab me and I hated the ending.

Biggest surprise?

Anyone who reads Adrian Tchaikovsky’s sci fi knows it’s always going to be surprising in some way but still I found Doors of Eden a strange, surreal and surprising read. It’s about parallel Earths intersecting with our own. Each of them has taken a different evolutionary path to us. There’s an overpopulated Earth where the dominant species are a rat/weasel species, another controlled by lazy big cats who make other species their slaves, another with hunter-gatherer bird people and so on. It’s fascinating and super wierd.

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)?

Suzanne Young, writer of Girls with Sharp Sticks. I’m desperate to read the rest of the trilogy! I really liked her storytelling style, plot twists and intriguing characters with depth.

Newest favourite character?

Hark from Deeplight by Frances Hardinge. I loved this book and I loved experiencing the dark mysterious marine world of the Myriad from his perspective. Hark is a liar and lover of stories. A boy caught in difficult situations but always trying to do right by his best friend.

Newest fictional crush?

Kaz Brekker in the Netflix Shadow and Bone TV show

I don’t usually crush on fictional characters (especially reading a lot of YA) but I am definitely crushing a little bit on adult Kaz Brekker, played by Freddy Carter in the Shadow and Bone TV series.

Book that made you cry?

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune. This book was such an emotional read! I loved every moment. I listened to the audiobook and I’m so glad I did as I think the narrator adds to the magic of this book. It’s a beautiful story of loneliness, love and found family and being brave enough to do the right thing.

Book that made you happy?

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’ve been planning on trying his books for a long time and finally got there with this beautiful book about an ‘Artificial Friend’ Klara for book club. I love robots and stories about artificial intelligence, so I was a sucker for this book. I love Klara so much, so adorable with some interesting observations and perspectives on the strange new world she finds herself in. I wish she could be my friend! It won the Nobel prize for literature and it’s also just been nominated for the Booker prize.

Favourite book to movie adaptation?

Following on from above, not a movie, but I’m going to say Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo which was adapted into the Netflix show Shadow and Bone. I loved Kaz Brekker and his crows in the show so I finally got round to reading the book which I’ve had on my TBR pile for two years!

Favourite review?

I’ve written a few ARC reviews on the Wild & Green blog this year after requesting some nature books from NetGalley. I enjoyed reviewing A World on the Wing by Scott Weidensaul, a fascinating book all about bird migration.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought this year?

I just bought The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman from a secondhand book shop and it is so pretty! I’m looking forward to finally reading it after a colleague recommended it to me many years ago!

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I really want to get through my TBR pile (mostly given to me by a friend) as most of these books have been sat there since before the pandemic! In my defence, I had to switch to ebooks for the past year as I’ve been recovering from tendonitis in my arms. For almost a year I couldn’t physically hold a book.

So there’s a snapshot of some of the books I’ve been reading in 2021. What are your favourite reads from this year so far?

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