Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

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Hello, everyone! Usually, around this time of year, I'd do a post featuring my top ten or so reads of the first half of the year . . . which I may still do sometime. But this year, I'm also doing something a little different. See, Deborah O'Carroll over at the Page Dreamer has tagged me with the Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag, which looks super fun. So, I'm going to do the tag, and if y'all still want to hear about my top ten books for the first half of the year, let me know in the comments and I'll either post them or tell you there. For now, though, on with the tag!

According to Goodreads, I've read about 69 books- the number may be a bit off because Goodreads still doesn't count rereads (unless, of course, you read the book before you got Goodreads). That means I have about 30 books left before I reach my completely arbitrary goal of 99 books. Those interested can see my full challenge, sorted by rating, over on the Goodreads site.

Now, with that out of the way, time for questions!

1. Best book you've read so far in 2016:
Heh. You expect me to pick just one? Nooope. We're going to go with two (which are actually more or less tied for second-best book in 2016, because the very best book is a sequel and therefore goes in the next question.

Shiloh by Helena Sorenson is absolutely gorgeous. A friend recommended it to me, saying that it reminded her of Tales of Goldstone Wood. I would agree, but I'd say that it reminded me of other books as well: The Wingfeather Saga, The Auralia Thread, and even parts of The Silimarillion, along with definitely original touches. All in all, it's a winning combination.

A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is excellent. I mean, that was never really in question- one of my favorite authors retells one of my favorite fairy tales; what's not to like?- but still. It was a bit creepier than some of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, but not too much. And along with that creepiness came a more mysterious feel than usual, which I quite enjoyed. There weren't a lot of familiar characters or places, true (with the usual exceptions- Goldstone Wood and Dame Imraldera chief among them)- but there is one character who I recognized and I don't know how many others did as well but I very much look forward to seeing the rest of his story.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2016:
Not only the best sequel, but the best book overall:
Which shouldn't be a surprise, because, honestly? It's pretty much inevitable that if there's a new Sanderson novel out, it'll end up somewhere in the top 3-5 of my list. Seriously, though, The Bands of Mourning is an amazing book. And Steris is an awesome character, ok? I know that in the first book, she's not that likeable . . . but she really comes into her own in this book, and guys, we need more characters like her. She's not a hero-hero, not action-y, not at all the sort of person you'd expect would be useful on an adventure . . . and yet she's awesome in her own crazy-prepared, insanely-organized way, and I'm pretty sure that without her, everything would've fallen apart on multiple occasions. Also, the ending was amazing, and we finally have . . . well, a few answers, at least.

Also amazing sequels:
 Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson

 Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams

3. New release you haven't read yet but want to: 
I'm hoping to buy Samara's Peril sometime in the next month or so (possibly the next week or so), but we'll see what happens.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:
Ghostly Echoes! It's only a month away and I can hardly wait!
5. Biggest disappointment:
Despite its potential, Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton was the year's biggest disappointment. It started off pretty good, with a great deal of potential, but midway through, a plot twist turned the whole thing towards a story I'd seen before.

Other disappointments:
 The Princess Bride novelization wasn't half as funny as the movie, unfortunately.

And Whose Body? had me actually wishing for an excuse to put the book down, even as I plowed through hoping that it would get better later on.

6. Biggest surprise:

Alllllll the Maggie Stiefvater! I mean, I expected to enjoy her books, but not as much as I actually did. I loved The Scorpio Races- somehow it has a bit of the taste of Misty of Chincoteague, but wrapped up in magic and mist and danger. And then the Raven Cycle was thoroughly addictive; my only complaints were the language and certain other content.
7. Favorite new-to-you author:
Helena Sorenson and Maggie Stiefvater are both amazing, if you haven't figured that out yet. And I'm quite enjoying Robert Jordan's books too, though not as much.

8. Newest fictional crush/ship:
Wax and Steris count, right? I mean, they're a ship that's existed for a few years now, but I didn't really ship them until Bands of Mourning.

No new fictional crushes, though. (Partially because everyone crush-worthy is already taken. Why does that always happen?)

9. Newest favorite character:
Steris! She finally comes into her own in The Bands of Mourning, and it's splendid. We need more characters like her. She's not a hero-hero, not action-y, not at all the sort of person you'd expect would be useful on an adventure . . . and yet she's awesome in her own crazy-prepared, insanely-organized way, and I'm pretty sure that without her, everything would've fallen apart on multiple occasions.

Other new favorites would be Benedict (A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold) and Trevn (King's Folly).

10. A book that made you cry:
I don't really think there was one? But the ending to Shiloh did make me sad for . . . certain reasons.

11. A book that made you happy:
The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye was quite a fun little read; highly enjoyable indeed. Not amazing, but delightful all the same.

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you've seen this year:
Um. The only movies I've watched this year are Inside Out, The Princess Bride (for the millionth time), and The Force Awakens. So unless we count The Princess Bride . . . yeah. I got nothing.

13. Favorite post you've done so far this year:
I'm really happy with all four of the writing posts I've done this year: Book Title Poetry, Black Letter, Pi(e) Day, and My Fault. I also really liked Why I'm Not Self-Publishing and If They Were Real.

14. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year:
A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold . . . though I haven't bought that many books at all this year, only three or four.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Soooo many books! I'm just going to try to hit the highlights (in no particular order):
White Sand by Brandon Sanderson

Samara's Peril by Jaye L. Knight

Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

 Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George

Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E Ardnek (which I'm actually in the process of very slowly beta-reading)

And because "Mid-Year" is sort of slipping away at this point, I won't tag anyone . . . but, please, if you want to do this tag, I'd love to hear your answers! You can either make your own post, or just answer in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 


  1. *waves hands wildly* You must read The Girl from Everywhere as soon as possible! If I could shove my copy through the screen at you, I would.

    Also, out of curiosity, is the "other stuff" in The Raven Cycle romantic or does it have to do with characters' jobs?

    1. I WILL. Except my library didn't have it when it came out, and then life happened. And so did The Raven Cycle. And The Wheel of Time. Though, honestly, I'm going to be in desperate need of some time off from WoT after I finish The Shadow Rising . . .

      Both, to a degree. But the presence of a gay character was the biggest thing. I know it's realistic, but it still made me more than a bit uncomfortable.

    2. I understand. It was more the tarot cards and what-not for me, but I wasn't entirely on-board that ship either.

    3. Well, I wasn't exactly cool with that either. But the ship bothered me more.

  2. It seems as if I add more to my books- to-read list every time I read your book posts! And the ones already on the list move to the desperately-need-to-read-as-soon-as-possible list.

    1. Heh. I'm sorry? Not actually though; I love it when I can help someone find something new to read! Which ones on this list caught your interest, out of curiosity?

    2. I haven't heard of Shiloh before. You make it sound so good! Anything that's reminiscent of Tales of Goldstone Wood, The Wingfeather Saga, and the Silmarillion must be worth checking out!

    3. It definitely is! And the first book is even free on Kindle!

  3. Yay! *devours post*

    Also, Goodreads lets you change your "date read" for a book, if you've read it before, so that it goes into this year's challenge. It won't be in a previous year's but I usually do that with rereads. The only thing is it doesn't work if you read it twice in a year. :P

    Those "best book of the year" questions are HARD. XD *goes to investigate Shiloh* *needs Branch of Silver*

    You are like the ultimate advertiser for Sanderson books. :D It's awesome, and no, I'm not surprised The Bands of Mourning is your favorite for the year thus far. ;) I totally associate Brandon Sanderson with you, just like I associate Maggie Stiefvater with Cait. :P

    GHOSTLY ECHOES. *shrieking* NEED.

    Aww, that is sad about Rebel of the Sands. :( I still want to try it but... meh, that's unfortunate it was a disappointment for you.

    To be fair, The Princess Bride is definitely a better movie than a book, which I don't usually say, but it's true. XD I enjoy the book but it can't stand up to the movie. Which is ironic since the book was written first. :P Buuut the author also did the screenplay from the book, so I guess he took the best parts. *shrug*

    I'm very much looking forward to trying some Maggie Stiefvater... They don't sound up my alley and yet at the same time, they sound up my alley. XD

    The Ordinary Princess! Definitely a happy-inducing book. ^_^ I love that one. <3

    Branch of Silver, Branch of Gold is definitely making it in the gorgeous department. O_O


    1. Yeah, but sometimes I do read books multiple times in a year. Plus, I don't always want to change the date. :P

      I knowwwww. And you should read Shiloh. You'll enjoy it, plus it's free on Kindle.

      Not quite the ultimate, but . . . I do love them muchly. :D And being assosciated with Brandon Sanderson is an immense compliment, so THANK YOU!

      YESSSSSSS WHY IS AUGUST SO FAR AWAY???? (Actually, I need it to come out, like, yesterday, so I can maybe get it from the library in time to take it places with me.)

      Yeah. And you can still try it; I know there's a lot of people (including Cait) who loved it, so.

      The Princess Bride absolutely is a much better movie. I think that's basically the only book that can qualify for that, but yeah. The author definitely grabbed all the best parts of the book for the movie.

      I think you'd enjoy Maggie Stiefvater. Just be aware, there's Content.

      I know you do. :) And I thought you might comment on that.

      THANK YOU! And I loved your comment; you always write long comments and they make me immensely happy. :D


I'd love to hear your thoughts! But remember: it pays to be polite to dragons.