Hi everyone! I am so excited to be back blogging again!!!!! I missed it so much but the pandemic had really gotten to me. I was barely able to keep up with my studies and let alone, reading. Anyways, I am finally back! 😆 It’s still summer break now and I have gained the motivation to post again yay. I thought it would be a good idea to a tag today. I have wanted to do the Mid-Year Book Check-In tag since last year but never got around to it for some reason.
The Mid-Year Book Check-In tag is a tag that has been around in the book community since years ago. It was originally created by Earl Grey Books & Readlikewildfire. I will not be answering a few of the questions such as the ‘best sequel’ one as I have not read any books in a series this year so far.
① Best book you’ve read so far
The three-body problem – Cixin Liu
I used to watch a lot of science fiction booktubers back in the day. This book series was always recommended by them. So, when I came across this book, I decided to give it a try. Going into this book, I did not expect to love it as much as I did. At the beginning, it felt like a 4 star read. It was a pretty dense read. As I got sucked more into the story, I began to appreciate how complex the story was. I grew to love the characters and feel their emotions such as their struggles. The most gripping aspect was definitely the science behind the three-body problem. I am a sucker for science fiction so this book was perfect for me. This is probably the best science fiction I have read so far and definitely the best book of this year.
② New Release(s) You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To
There are so many new release(s) that I have not read yet as I have not been able to read as much these days.These are 5 of the books that are high on my tbr list. I have read from all these authors before and have loved their previous books so I am really excited to read these new release(s)!
③ Most Anticipated Release(s) for the Second Half of the Year
2021 is the year of amazing new releases. The covers are incredibly gorgeous too!
I have seen Katie Zhao’s books pop up on twitter a lot so How we fall apart instantly caught my eye. Mystery thrillers especially those set in elite schools are so up my alley. (The book is already out by the time I upload this post but let’s ignore that 🤫)
I really enjoyed Chloe Gong’s These violent delights so I cannot wait to read Our violent ends. The wait is so long!
Also, I cannot believe my eyes!!! The girl king finally has a sequel! I enjoyed the book a lot when I read it 2 years ago. I might have to reread it as I can’t remember what happened at the end.
I recently read The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and enjoyed it so I am eager to read her other releases, especially the upcoming Heart Principle.
Lastly, Mona Awad’s Bunny has been making a wave around the book community which I plan to read soon. She is known for writing creepy books. Seeing that she has an upcoming release, I will have to read it.
④ Biggest Disappointment
The better liar – Tanen Jones
I found this book when looking through Bettysbooklist on Tiktok. The way it was pitched was so intriguing that I immediately went to the nearest Waterstones to get it. Sadly, the execution, especially the final twist was extremely disappointing. When the first twist was revealed, even if I guessed it (this could also be because I read and watch so many thrillers), it made sense to me. However, after this twist, everything went downhill for me. It felt like the characters changed their mannerisms all of a sudden. The main character’s motive for getting the inheritance was not explained very well and “Robin’s” actions did not make sense. What frustrated me was the discussion surrounding their past. At the end, the characters felt one-dimensional and the ending felt abrupt. I feel so letdown as the beginning of the book was really promising.
⑤ Biggest Surprise
His only wife – Peace Adzo Medie
I was genuinely surprised by how much I loved this book! I love reading about headstrong women who fight against all odds such as societal pressure, to reach their dream goals. I rooted for the main character, Afi. I felt her emotions and frustrations as well as felt joy when she achieved her dreams. When I was reading the book, I felt that it was a solid four star read but as I read more and more, completely gripped by Afi’s life as if she is a real person, I knew this book holds a special place in my heart. The classism, employment crisis, patriarchy, women’s struggles and culture in Ghana were written exquisitely. I felt so immersed in the story. If you are looking for a feminist book that highlights societal issues well and a relatable (likable and unlikable at the same time) main character, I highly recommend reading this book! I also found out that this book is being adapted to screen. I am SO excited to watch it omg!!!
⑥ Favourite New Author (Debut or New to You)
S. K. Ali is definitely my favourite author of this year!!! I adored love from A to Z. Her writing style, her characters – everything is perfect. I cannot wait to read more of her books!!!
⑦ Newest Fictional Crush
The third best thing – Maya Hughes
I had two answers for this question – Adam from love from A to Z and Beck from the third best thing but I did not want to be repetitive so I am going with Beck. He was honestly such a sweetheart. The way he treated Jules with so much love and respect made my heart melt. He also encouraged Jules to fight for herself when she was struggling with difficult situations. These are some of the characteristics I love so I definitely have a crush on Beck. Let’s be honest, fictional guys > real guys lol.
⑧ Newest Favourite Character
The poppy war – R. F. Kuang
Rin from the poppy war was another character who stole my heart this year. She is strong-willed, tough intelligent and morally grey. (one of the best I have read) I loved how real she was. She did not back down in her stubbornness even when faced with difficult circumstances. She does things that make you question her but at the same time, you cannot help but support her. I am looking forward to reading more about Rin in the next 2 books! I heard that they are going to be even more emotional. Oh boy.
⑨ Book That Made You Cry
On Earth we’re briefly gorgeous – Ocean Vuong
This book was devastating. I listened to the audiobook which made the reading experience even more heartbreaking. Reading Ocean’s experiences as a Vietnamese in America and his sexuality had me bawling my eyes out. Not only that, the book is a letter to his mother. He shares with us the strained relationship between his mother and him. Beneath the tensed relationship lies deep love so poetically described. Truly a poignant masterpiece.
⑩ Book That Made You Happy
Love from A to Z – S. K. Ali
You have no idea how happy this book made me!!!!!
This is probably one of the only books I read about two Muslim protagonists in love. Most of the time, the Muslim protagonist falls in love with a non-Muslim love interest. I am honestly kind of over this trope since that is not allowed in Islam anyways. Also, I love how the story revolves around a proud Hijabi Muslim. Another narrative that is often pushed in media is that the Muslim woman (mostly) is ‘oppressed by her religion’ and ‘sick of the hijab/Islam’ so she proceeds to take her hijab off. SO tired of that!!! Most of us are not even forced to wear the hijab so this trope is just another form of western propaganda.
I loved the relationship dynamics between Zaynab and Adam and, their respective families. Their happiness was so pure that it made me squeal in happiness. I enjoyed the discussions on friendship, Islamophobia and culture. This book will forever be special to me ❤️
⑪ Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year
These violent delights – Chloe Gong
It was really for me to come up with a answer for this question but while looking through my books, I remembered how awestruck I was by this cover when it was first revealed! The gorgeous flowers just do it for me. I am a sucker for flower patterns on anything tbh. So, this book takes the crown this year.
⑫ What Books Do You Need To Read By the End of the Year
I have SO many books I want to read by the end of this year but I am not going to list all of them here. That would make the post too long. I could make a separate post about all the books I need to read by the end of the year 😀 And of course, follow up on whether I have actually read them.
Most of these books are books I have borrowed from the library. I was so excited to go back to the library that I ended up borrowing quite a lot. I have read a few already so that’s good!
Cursed bunny is a book which I discovered online purely by chance. LOOK at that cover though! Purple and a creepy bunny, definitely something I would pick up! I had read a bit of it and it was bizarre to say the least. Cannot wait to get back into it.
Chlorine sky and Made in Korea are new releases that intrigued me when I first saw their synopses. When I saw them in the library, I had to get them!
Remember when I gushed about The Widows of Malabar Hill? I was so surprised to see the third book in the library!!! It was indeed a timely reminder to continue on with the series.
Lastly, it is honestly such a shame that I still have not Mirage, a highly anticipated fantasy of mine since before it came out. It probably has been on my tbr for a few years. Perhaps, this year I will finally read it!
Here are the books!
There you have it! My mid year book check-in. Had so much fun blogging again! Wish I read more books but I have been getting into so many slumps this year :O Hope that changes for the better! Till next time, take care 😀