2021 has been a weird year for me so far. I swear I’m a completely different person now than I was six months ago.
But one thing hasn’t changed: my desire to do the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag. This will be my fifth time doing this tag (if you’re interested, here are all four past iterations: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020). I just really enjoy looking back at and reflecting on everything I’ve read.
This year my goal has been to focus on my backlist. We’ll get into how I’m doing with that later. For now, I’ll just say I’ve had a pretty good reading month so far this year. I’ve only given one rating below three stars. I’m super excited to highlight many of those books.
Let’s get on with the show!!!
Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
This adorable F/F romance novel was my first five-star read of 2021. Since then, I’ve been recommending it to literally everyone. It’s my absolute favorite romance. I love Elle and Darcy so much, I’m even planning on reading the M/F sequel just for crumbs.
I honestly wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I do. It’s a deep exploration of the way an obsessive, co-dependent relationship can bring out the best and the worst in both people and how the isolation of queerness can exacerbate that. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished it.
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021
I mean, you had to know Jemisin was going to show up on this list in some capacity. Not only is this a great sequel, but I think I enjoyed this one a bit more than The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but just barely. I’m currently reading the third book in the series and loving it as well.
New release you haven’t read yet, but want to
So far, every book by Moreno-Garcia I’ve had has been a five-star read. This one incorporates witchcraft and sounds so good. I plan to read this book ASAP!
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
I have been dying to read this book since I first found out about it months ago. It sounds like Mulan meets The Poppy War in the best way. I’m also 99% sure it’s queer. And its release is only a couple weeks away!
I was really let down by this book. It doesn’t offer meaningful commentary or feminist themes like it claims. Instead, it is tonally confusing and filled with problematic content. Though I like Silverman’s writing style, I can’t say it makes the novel worth reading.
I went into this book with tempered expectations and I think that really benefited my reading experience. Sure, the world-building is a bit muddled and some things seem a little forced. But I had so much fun reading this. I really liked the characters and the banter. It’s not perfect, but I love it anyway.
Favorite new author (debut or new to you)
It was only a matter of time until I started screaming about Fullmetal Alchemist on this post. It’s easily been some of my favorite media I’ve consumed this year, and that absolutely includes the original manga. I am completely and utterly in love with the characters, world, and story Arakawa created. She even inspired me to start writing again!
Newest fictional crush
Nineteen Adze from A Memory Called Empire
What can I say? I love MILFs. I’m a sucker for an older woman with money and power. There were scenes between Nineteen Adze and Mahit that weren’t meant to be romantic, that had me swooning anyway. Mahit and Three Seagrass can have each other. I’d marry Nineteen Adze in a heartbeat.
Newest favorite character
Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist
Can you at least pretend to be surprised? Look, I just love my little gremlin son with a heart of gold. He’s so smart and so stupid. He’s a bitch and I like him so much!!! I’m so overwhelmed with love for him, I can barely remain comprehensible. Put it this way: Trisha Elric, I love and respect you, but Edward is my son now.
Book that made you cry
I don’t want to spoil anything, but something happens to one of my favorite characters that was deeply upsetting. If you know, you know.
Book that made you happy
This book made me happy for a couple reasons. Firstly, I’m just happy to finally have it after two years of waiting. Secondly, it was just a fun read that I think back on and smile. I can’t wait to read it again because I feel like I’ll appreciate it more on reread.
Favorite book to film adaptation
I’ve literally watched this anime twice this year (and am considering a third viewing), I love it that much. It’s faithful to Arakawa’s source material and is just overall amazing. There’s a reason it’s regarded as one of the greatest anime of all time.
Most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year
Just look at it. It’s gorgeous. It also has blue-sprayed edges. I’m a bit intimidated at the thought of reading it, but maybe I will after the movie comes out later this year.
Books you need to read by the end of the year
I wrote a post back in January of a bunch of backlist books I want to read this year. So far I’ve read 4/21. At this point, if I can make it through at least half the list, I’ll be happy.
How has your reading year been so far? Any standouts? Good or bad, let me know in the comments!