Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag 2021!

Hi guys! Today I am finally sharing my absolute favourite tag ever and that is the mid-year freak out book tag, where I discuss all the incredible books I’ve read this year! But first, my Goodreads challenge: I have read 41/80 books this year so far.

I’m definitely not reading as much this year since I’ve been doing other things. I’ve been watching more TV shows and playing more video games which I’ve been really enjoying. I have picked up reading more in the second half of the year and I should just about manage to read 80 books. Now let’s discuss all the amazing books I’ve read this year so far!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021

My favourite book this year so far is definitely The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan. I’ve heard of this author before but this is the only book of hers that I’ve read and that will change given how much I loved this one. It’s a thriller that follows four friends who go on a luxury retreat to South Africa when they reunite for a birthday celebration. Alice, Grace and Hannah agree to meet their friend Felicity there, but once they arrive there’s no sign of Felicity or the party that was promised and they are alone in the wild. From that point onwards, their idea of a birthday bash is quickly dampened by their eerie surroundings and the sinister notes that are left in the girls’ lodges. I was very impressed with how quickly Morgan managed to create such a menacing setting and it left me constantly on edge because I always had the sense that something bad was going to happen. There was never a dull moment as the book flipped between the past and present as it told the story of how these “Wild Girls” went from being the best of friends to complete strangers. This is a book you’ll start reading and end up devouring in one sitting. It’s a very well-crafted story that oozes tension right from the start and has a killer twist at the end.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021

Confession time: I haven’t read that many sequels this year despite one of my reading resolutions being to finish my series so that’s fun, but I’m going to go with Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson. I know some people don’t think this was as good as the first book but I loved it and thought it was definitely on par with A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. The stakes were much higher this time round as Pip searches for her best friend’s brother, whose disappearance is very out of character. The clock is ticking on whether she’ll find him alive or not and you definitely feel that sense of urgency throughout. I felt like this investigation really pushed Pip to the edge and you could tell how emotionally charged she was throughout. She definitely puts a lot of pressure on herself and while the first investigation was was initially for a school project, this one felt like her first proper case where she’s racing against the clock. It was a brilliant sequel.

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

I really would like to get to Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver because he’s one of my favourite crime writers and this is his first standalone so I can’t wait to see if it’s on the same level as his David Raker series. I’m sure it is though! This follows Rebekah Murphy, who has been missing for five months. She’s alone on an abandoned island with a killer on her trail and she has to stay alive long enough to understand why this is happening to her. I’m intrigued by it already!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

It has to be Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber, right? I love the absolutely magical world of Caraval and although I was initially not very interested in a story about Jacks, I have to admit that this sounds interesting. All I know about it is that it follows Evangeline Fox, who makes a deal with the Prince of Hearts. I really hope it’s just as mesmerising as Caraval.

Biggest disappointment

There’s not really many books I’ve been disappointed by this year; however, one that I was really excited about that fell rather flat is Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler. It’s supposed to be a really intense and thrilling read about a doctor who’s made to feel isolated from her work colleagues. Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table and the man who stands over her isn’t a doctor. When she reawakens, she’s unharmed and although she tries to tell people what happened, no one believes her. The whole story felt very repetitive with the same scene happening on three separate occasions and although Alex begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind, we are told very clearly that she’s telling the truth and this incident did actually happen, which I thought took away a lot of the intrigue and excitement. I’d have much preferred it if she was painted as unstable and unreliable. It would have made the story so much more interesting and gripping. A lot of people loved this one though, so clearly it just wasn’t for me.

Biggest surprise

This is definitely The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, because I really didn’t think this would be a book I’d enjoy but I was very happy to be proven wrong. This was an absolute delight to read and it was highly entertaining. It follows four elderly residents in a retirement village who get together once a week to investigate unsolved murders when, one day, a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep so they work together to catch the killer. Joyce was such a delightful character and seems so laidback about everything. She seemed to go with the flow, no matter how strange it was and easily became part of the Thursday Murder Club. Then we had Elizabeth who seemed to be the boss of the group and a force to be reckoned with. If Elizabeth wanted something done, then it got done. There was no messing about when it came to her demands and I loved it. I liked all of the gang, but Joyce and Elizabeth stood out the most. I’m very much looking forward to the sequel!

Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

I have to go with Holly Jackson since I’ve read three of her books this year and will be reading the fourth one when it comes out.

Newest fictional crush

I don’t have one this year. I guess since I’ve been reading more standalones and crime books? I don’t know but no one springs to mind.

Newest favourite character

Again, it has to be Pip because of how driven she is and how she’s just an ordinary student with a lot of determination. Pip is the perfect lead character for this series with her bubbly personality. She actually cares for the people she’s investigating and wants to uncover the truth that people have fought so hard to keep buried. It was hard seeing how much of a toll the case took on her in the second book; she goes to a very dark place but she fights to come out the other side and I really admire her for that.

Book that made you cry

I might just cry from saying this but a book hasn’t made me cry this year. I’m very sad about that and maybe that will change in the second half.

Book that made you happy

It has to be The Thursday Murder Club for all the reasons I mentioned previously.

Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year 

This is based on the autobiography Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness and it’s a very informative and eye-opening film. It is about New York Post journalist Susannah Cahalan who starts hallucinating, having seizures and behaving violently towards others. No one can give her an accurate diagnosis and her condition gradually deteroriates until a doctor realises what is happening to her. I didn’t think it would be a film I would love but I did actually end up becoming engrossed in it. I’d definitely recommend it if you haven’t watched it.

Favourite review you’ve written this year

For this one I’m going to say The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman. It offers a fresh take on a psychological thriller as the main setting is pilot season in Hollywood, with actors across the globe coming to Los Angeles in the hopes that they’ll make it in the acting world. It’s an incredibly moving story that showcases the dark side of Hollywood and the devastating realisation that not everyone will survive this dazzling but brutal industry. I had a lot of fun unpacking it in my review and really delving deep into the underbelly of Hollywood.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Definitely the Illumicrate editions of The Infernal Devices. Those books are absolutely stunning and match the Waterstones editions perfectly.

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

So many, at this point but I’d like to read Chris Carter’s books! They will be a priority for the last half of the year.

So that’s the mid-year freak out book tag done and dusted until next year! This tag is so much fun and if you haven’t done it yet, definitely get to it soon! I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you so much for reading.

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