Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Welcome to my first ever book tag post! I’ve seen this tag floating around on Youtube so I thought I would share my own version of it.

At the time of writing this, I’ve read 22 of the 50 books I’ve set for my Goodreads challenge, which is only 2 behind schedule – plus, I only read 33 books throughout the whole of last year so that’s an improvement already!

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2021

My favourite book so far this year is definitely Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. I reviewed it in this post, but in short this book completely wowed me! It’s the sort of book that leaves you constantly guessing and questioning who to trust, and that ending was something I will never forget. The whole “reveal” of what’s going on genuinely creeped me out and I couldn’t stop thinking about this book for weeks after I finished it.

If you like domestic thrillers with a ton of mystery and suspense then I would highly recommend this book!

BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2021

To be completely honest, I much prefer standalone books to book series so I don’t read a lot of sequels in general. In fact, the only sequel I’ve read this year is Fallen by Karin Slaughter, which is the 6th book in her ‘Will Trent’ series. Although I enjoyed this book and will carry on with the series, I found this book to be just “okay” and I rated it a 3/5 stars. As always, I love her dark writing and I like the characters in this series but I much prefer her ‘Grant County’ series which I would recommend over the Will Trent books!

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

Speaking of Karin Slaughter, my first pick for this question would be False Witness by the queen herself. I had no idea she was publishing a new standalone so I can’t wait to start reading this book. When I read the blurb it sounded quite similar to The Good Daughter (which I loved) and apparently it’s set during Covid times so that will be a new reading experience!

My second pick would be The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. After reading and loving The Silent Patient last year, I have really high hopes that this will also be a great mystery thriller with some ‘dark academia’ vibes that I’m intrigued by.

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

I literally have no idea what new books are coming out, I didn’t even know Karin Slaughter had a new one coming and she is my favourite author?!

I’m not sure if this is out yet or not, but I saw somebody’s reading vlog where they read an ARC of Hostage by Clare Mackintosh which sounded super interesting, and I have enjoyed her previous books so probably that one!

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

My most disappointing book of this year has to be The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell. I talked about it in this post, but ultimately my issue with this book is that I didn’t feel like I connected with any of the characters and I felt it didn’t go deep enough into the issues that it raised. I absolutely loved Then She Was Gone by the same author, partly because I felt so involved with the characters, so I was disappointed to find that this book was almost the complete opposite.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

I have 3 books to share for this prompt, and they’re all Young Adult mysteries! I wonder if my expectations are naturally lower when a book is YA, but nevertheless these books were all amazing!

Firstly, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson is one of the most engaging and fun thrillers I’ve ever read. I talk about this book in more detail in this post, so if you need any more convincing then head there.

Sadie by Courtney Summers is also a firm favourite from this year, I loved seeing Sadie’s journey to avenge her sister’s death and I thought the whole book was so powerful and emotional.

Lastly, Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas is probably my biggest surprise as I thought this would just be an easy and quick read, but it is currently my 2nd favourite book of the year! This book had the perfect summer thriller vibes as well as being really well written. I was absolutely seething with rage at some parts of this book, which obviously goes to show how much I cared about these characters.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR (DEBUT OR NEW TO YOU)

I would say Alice Feeney for this prompt as I’ve just finished His & Hers which was an easy 4.5 star read and I already have a couple of her other books on my TBR, including Sometimes I Lie which I’m excited to get to.

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

I’m not really the type to get fictional crushes, probably because I don’t read a lot of romance/happy fiction where you would often find a fictional crush… so instead I’ll tell you that my all time favourite fictional crush is Jeffrey Tolliver from Karin Slaughter’s ‘Grant County‘ series!

NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER

My newest favourite character is definitely Pip from A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. She is the perfect main character in that she is both completely relatable whilst still being really inspiring. She is smart, resourceful, self-assured and confident in her own abilities and who she is. I can’t wait to read more about her character in the next books in the series!

A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

I am definitely a crier when it comes to reading, but I think these ones would be universally sad if you’re in the mood for it!

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes made me ball my eyes out at the end. This was a really powerful book about a mentally disabled man called Charlie who becomes the subject of a science experiment to make him “more intelligent”, and about the consequences of this procedure.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is everyone’s favourite tear-jerker. You really need to be in a good head space to read this book as it is a traumatic read from beginning to end.

And lastly, I cried at Moonrise by Sarah Crossan, which is a story told in verse about a young boy who’s older brother is currently on death row for a crime he didn’t commit.

A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

I don’t read a lot of “happy” books but I would say (again) A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder because of how fun it was and how much I loved it.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT (OR RECEIVED) THIS YEAR

I recently bought Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers from an independent book shop which has the most beautiful colour scheme ever. I love the orange and the blue/green together!

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

Obviously there are soooo many I want to read but here’s a quick fire list of the top of my head!

  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton – I recently found this in an independent book shop and I’ve heard it is super tense and thrilling.
  • False Witness by Karin Slaughter and I really want to re-read Pretty Girls too.
  • I want to read some more post-apocalyptic fiction, such as Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Sci-fi like John Marrs (The One and The Passengers) and Blake Crouch (Dark Matter and Recursion)
  • And lastly more horror including Brother by Ania Ahlborn, Stephen King short stories and The Deep by Nick Cutter

And that’s all for now! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and please do get involved in the comments or over on my Instagram. Until next time,

Lots of love, The Amber Approach

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