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Mid-year Freak Out 2021!

Every year in the booktube community, this tag has been a staple. I usually do it as a video but with internet being awful where I am, I have opted to give it a blog post! There have been so many wonderful books already this year and I feel like this great way to talk about the good… and the bad haha.

I was thinking about including a mid-year check in regarding my goals I placed for myself at the start of the year, but that would just make this far too long. So be sure to look forward to that in the (hopefully!) near future!

But without further ado, let’s get to…


1. Best book you’ve read so far this year.

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon

Honestly, this book was amazing. I had a slight issue with how the ending lined up and the choice to do some out of sequence flash-backs but that was not enough to deter me from giving it a 5-star. Ariel Lawhon does an impeccable job at telling true stories in a fictionalized way that shows how much research, thought and effort she puts in. Highly recommend, but particularly for my fellow war-fiction lovers. Check out my review here.

2. Best sequel you've read so far this year.

Robin Hood Demon’s Bane 2: The Two Torcs by Debbie Viguie & James R. Tuck

Admittedly, I have not read many sequels this year but this one stands out for me. It still managed to surprise me and take me on a wild ride through the dark imagined world of Robin Hood. The stakes are ever-escalating and there is NO plot armor. Check out my review for book 1, Mark of the Black Arrow, here.

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

I may be a little TOO eager to read this one haha. The synopsis ticks so many boxes for me that I feel like I will be sad once I’ve read it because that means it is done. I was lucky enough to attend a virtual tea and author chat a couple months ago where Kate Quinn spoke about her process and research that went into it and I nerded out SO much.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

A Swift and Savage Tide (Captain Kit Brightling #2) by Chloe Neill

I was refreshing my feed constantly when I found out the cover reveal was happening and it looks gorgeous! I am so enthralled in this world and these characters that I definitely need to re-read the first book again soon. Magic, adventure, alternate history of the Napoleonic war, high-seas stakes… everything I could want. Check out my review of book 1 here.

5. Biggest disappointment.

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

I’ve held on to the hardcover editions of book 1 and 2 for YEARS. They looked so beautiful and the synopsis had me gripped because I felt like it would be the perfect book to pick up when I was in the mood for it. Then the mood came… and I DNF’d it. I really did not get far but the first handful of pages were all about this man planning out his suicide and I could not get past that, nor the pacing or writing in general. There is an omniscient narrator who really loves to say stuff and it was annoying as heck!

6. Biggest surprise.

The Lady and the Highway Man by Sarah M. Eden

I don’t want to say that this was a surprise that I enjoyed it because I figured I would. It’s historical mystery with some action, so how could I not? I guess I was more surprised by the amount of plot that I did not expect at all. The inclusion of the two main characters’ Penny Dreadfuls, the layers of nefarious players, the subtle nod to future book possibilities, and so much more. And I guess that sums it up fairly well: this book was so much more than I had expected. Check out my review here.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Cindy Anstey (Duels & Deception)

This is a hard one because I have not read many of the same new author yet this year to definitively say they are a ‘new favourite’. I will say though, that I think Cindy Anstey is the only new author for me this year that I have ordered a backlist title from already so that bodes well. I enjoyed her playful writing that still carried weight, her characters were very humanized and made decisions that I respected, the series of events unfolded wonderfully. It’s all aspects that lead me to believe her other works will carry the same promise. Check out my review of Duels & Deception here.

8. Newest fictional crush.

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham (A Ladies Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins)


Robert Newton (Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey)

Ok, so I can’t choose between these two gents. But I think the commonality between them is that they are just that, gentlemen. But more than that, they are smart, witty, daring, pragmatic, thoughtful… the swoon factor is high with these two. Check out my review for The Lady's Guide to Mischief & Mayhem here.

9. Newest favourite character.

Lydia Pallas (Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden)

She is a standout for me within the groupings of new characters I have been introduced to this year. I am so bad with remembering side characters’ names so I guess that kind of narrows down my prospects thankfully haha. Lydia though is a step above. She is independent, smart, daring, determined, and a ton of other adjectives I could include but most of all she is unique. From her childhood to where she ends up, I don’t think I have read a character quite like her. I personally did not like the addition of a romance for her because I found the pairing did not do her justice. Check out my review here.

10. Book that made you cry.

Soulswift by Megan Bannen

Megan Bannen has written two books. Both of these books have emotionally destroyed me. And I’m 100% ok with that. There is something about her storytelling that makes you become unbelievably invested and then she laughs as she breaks your heart. Seriously, check out this one and Bird & the Blade but have your tissues ready. Check out my review for Soulswift here.

11. Book that made you happy.

Edenbrooke by Julianna Donaldson

Perma-smile the entire time reading this one. It was so sweet and wholesome, how could I not? Check out my review here.

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received).

An Unexpected Peril (Veronica Speedwell Mysteries #6) by Deanna Raybourn

This entire series has covers to die for. The cover for book 7 was released recently and I just love all of the detail that goes into the art. I have the first three books of this series in paperback but I need to find the hardcovers because they all deserve to be hardcovers on my shelf. Check out my review for book 1, A Curious Beginning, here.

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

A Swift and Savage Tide by Chloe Neill, The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, The Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatsworth, Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore, The Albion Initiative by George Mann, Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb… and so many more.

And there you have it, my mid-year freak out for 2021!

What would your answers to these questions be? Leave a comment below!

Until next time, keep reading ;)

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