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Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

So, I love to read. I really and honestly do. But when I'm in editing mode (as I have been for most of this year), I find myself not as drawn to reading for pleasure. Which means I've only read four print books this year. However, in the last few years, I have discovered a new passion for audiobooks. Want to reread a book you love but don't want to sacrifice your already limited reading time? Audiobooks. Want to get around to reading that series you've always meant to try but never floats to the top of your TBR? Audiobooks. Want to dive into a deep fantasy but are scared of tripping over the long descriptions? I think you get my point. I've listened to nine audiobooks this year. This was almost exclusively done during my morning shower. Time that might've been lost otherwise. I've also read seventeen manga. I wasn't sure whether I should do this tag. If I had enough to talk about. But you know what? Let's just give it a try.

Just as a note, I always hesitate to answer what is "the best". I don't know what is "the best" objectively. I can only tell you my opinions. My thoughts on books are both very personal and flawed.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019? My two favorite books so far this year are Caraval and Five Feet Apart. Caraval, I did in audiobook because I thought the descriptions would be too much for me in text. And I actually really loved it this way. The decriptions didn't bother me at all. I loved the atmosphere of the book. And I ended up loving the romance, too. (You can read my short review here.) I'll get back to Five Feet Apart in a few questions.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019? This would have to be City of Fallen Angels. I don't know why it is taking me so long to read through this series (at least it hasn't fallen into the trap of me only reading the first book in a series), but I have loved every book so far.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to? I have a Goodreads TBR that is completely out of control. But because it's the first book to pop into my head, I'll say The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. I fell really hard for Sarah's books in 2010 and 2011. Only a few of them (mostly her oldest books) have missed the mark for me. But I haven't read her four newest books because I am a slow reader and constantly trying to keep up with YA books that will be made into movies. To my delight, three of Sarah's books will be added to that list. Which means I'll finally read This Lullaby & Once and for All. And probably revisit Along for the Ride in audiobook. Have I said enough about audiobooks in this post? Okay, sorry.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year? I still haven't read my most anticipated book for 2018. So, I honestly don't know. I AM SO BEHIND!

5. Biggest disappointment? Please, don't hate me. It's definitely the Percy Jackson series. I don't, by any means, think of them as bad books. And I'm also well-aware that I'm not the target audience and haven't been for some time. But I always heard these books compared to Harry Potter. And while I knew it couldn't reach the all-powerful nostalgia level that lives within the books that shaped my childhood, I still expected... more. The writing is witty. I like Percy and Annabeth. And I like the idea of the books. (Short review here.) I probably will continue to listen to this series off and on because I want to see how it matures and I've heard great things about the diversity as the series goes on. But I probably will never love these books, and that kind of makes me sad.

6. Biggest surprise? I really didn't expect a book based off of a screenplay to hit me as hard as Five Feet Apart did. I mean, I loved The Fault in Our Stars, and this has the added forbidden love element that I just can't resist. But I almost didn't read the book, being that it wasn't the original story of the movie but written alongside it, instead. But you know, what? I loved it. Yeah, it might have gone a bit fast and could've had more detail. (And I'm aware that the book falls into some potentially triggering tropes.) But I just utterly fell in love with this book. As a person who has longed for love more than anything else in the world, I felt that sharp pain of separation like it was my own. No, touch isn't everything. But when you're in love and in need of comfort, five feet seems like torture.

7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)? I would really like to see what Rachael Lippincott (Five Feet Apart) would do with her own characters and story.

8. Newest fictional crush? If you read my Born to Dream entry, you'll know that I quoted The Sun is Also a Star. This is a quote from Daniel Bae, a passionate boy who believes in love at first sight and fate - things I've passionately believed in, myself, but have struggled with the last few years. The "insta-love", as they call it, aspect was intense in this book... even for me. But I do truly believe you could have an inner knowing of having found the right person as soon as you meet. As Daniel would say, “There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.” I don't often get crushes on book characters (that aren't my own) these days, but Daniel is as close as it's gotten for me so far this year. He inspires me. I saved many quotes while reading The Sun is Also a Star. And most of them are from Daniel.

9. Newest favorite character? Besides Daniel? Maybe Scarlett Dragna from Caraval? But also, probably Julian from the same, because I found him fascinating. And I feel like that's all I can say without spoiling anything.

10. Book that made you cry? Five Feet Apart. I'm prone to crying easily, but this book got me sobbing.

11. Book that made you happy? I don't really... get happy? But I really, really enjoyed Caraval and Howl's Moving Castle. And also, revisiting Melissa Anneli's book about the Harry Potter fandom (Harry, A History). All in audiobook form. So, I guess you can say that audiobooks in general have really lifted my spirits this year, through exhausting edits and health issues.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)? I've bought so many books this year. Book Outlet has been a gift and a curse. (But mostly, a gift.) If you mean physically beautiful... I picked up Sorcery of Thorns at my local bookstore a couple of weeks ago. And I am so into this cover.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year? I'm currently reading All the Bright Places. I would also like to read Going Off Script, since I won that from a giveaway this year. There are also some ebook giveaways I've been ignoring for too long. (I'm a bad example. Read and review giveaway books, kids. We small authors need that.) But honestly, which books do I need to read by the end of the year? Magic Inc. Book One & Magic Inc. Book Two. I'm hoping to get both the new version of Book One and Book Two out by the end of this year. I'd like them to be out a lot sooner. But this has turned into a much bigger project than I imagined.