MID-YEAR CHECK IN | Books that made me laugh, cry, sigh and squeal!

This post is based on the questions for the ‘Mid-Year Freak Out Tag’, but I’ve edited it to suit my needs a bit better. I’m pretty sure most of these will be to no one’s surprise but let’s see! I’m still going to be doing a June Wrap up, which you will be able to find here, but for some more specific check ups, here’s how my 2019 is going!

BEST BOOK SO FAR

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
★★★★★

Adult Fantasy [GR | BUY]

Absolutely no one is surprised by this. I debated not including it as I first read it in 2018 and this was a reread, but I feel like I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have it somewhere in this post.

Check out my full review here.

The Priory of the Orange Tree cover is bright orange depicting a huge dragon coiled around the tower of a building.

BEST SEQUEL

Godsgrave (Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff
★★★★★

New Adult Fantasy [GR | BUY]

I started Nevernight at the end of last year and hosting F/F February was the perfect opportunity for me to pick up the sequel. It was phenomenal.

The writing style of these books is so unique, the narrator is probably one of my all time favourite characters and I’m deeply in love with Mia Corvere. We stan a stabby bisexual icon.

Godsgrave book cover shows a shadow wolf and shadow cat in front of a blue sun. Beneath it is gladiatorial regalia and birds.

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T GOT TO YET

All three of these books are sequels to some of my fave 2018 reads. I spent a lot of last year desperate for these sequels and while I pre-ordered them all, I still haven’t had a chance to pick them up yet. Hopefully soon!

Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad #2) by S.A. Chakraborty

Adult Fantasy [GR | BUY]

If you haven’t picked up this The City of Brass yet, I would highly recommend it. High fantasy with own voices muslim rep as well as djin, a lil smidge of romance and some badass magic.

The Vanishing Stair cover is filled with red stairs going in completely different directions.

Kingsbane (Emperium #2) by Claire Legrand

New Adult Fantasy [GR | BUY]

I know Furyborn was hit or miss for a lot of people but personally I adored it. Seeing bisexual rep in an M/F relationship was really great for me, plus magic challenges and BAD ANGELS. I think I’d devour whatever Legrand writes tbh.

The Kingdom of Copper cover depicts large emerald doors with a city in silhouette beneath. Across the doors is the title.

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson

YA Mystery [GR | BUY]

Truly Devious is a super fun boarding school mystery and I loved the anxiety representation in this! I’ve heard very mixed things about the sequel but I’m still crazy excited.

Kingsbane's cover depicts the two crowns of the Sun Queen and the Blood Queen at opposing ends of the Sun Staff.

MOST ANTICIPATED JUL-DEC RELEASE

Darkdawn (Nevernight Chronicle #3 by Jay Kristoff

New Adult Fantasy [GR | BUY]

There are definitely a few books I could choose for this category and yet Jay Kristoff makes his second appearance on this list.

The end of Godsgrave was a brutal cliffhanger, added to by Jay’s sneak peaks on instagram and now I’m just desperate.

Bring on Stabtember.

Notable others are Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and Queen of Nothing by Holly Black.

Darkdawn UK cover shows a black cat in front of a yellow sun. Inside the cat are snakes, skulls and birds. There is a tag line saying, "when all is blood, blood is all."

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Aurora Rising (Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
★★★½

YA Sci Fi [GR | BUY]

This was not a bad book, and it is absolutely not the worst book I have read this year so far, however, it was my biggest disappointment. I just expected more from Kaufman and Kristoff and this let me down.

Aurora Rising book cover is designed by Charlie Bowater with the protagonist Auri on the cover. She is of Asian heritage with one red eye, in front of a purple galaxy and constellations over her black hair with a white streak.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

The Boss by Abigail Barnette
★★★★½

New Adult Romance [GR | CLAIM FREE]

I don’t often talk about the amount of smutty romance I read, but it’s 100% a guilty pleasure of mine. I don’t generally rate them particularly high because they’re not always great for storyline, however, this completely took me by surprise. It was sold to me by firstly, being free on Amazon, and secondly, being “what Fifty Shades should have been if it was a healthy D/s relationship”.

It was good. The storyline was interesting, the sex was healthy, and let me tell you it was hot.

The Boss book cover shows a man and woman entwined in black and white.

FAVE NEW-TO-YOU OR DEBUT

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
★★★★★

New Adult Romance [GR | BUY]

This one could definitely have been quite a few of the books I’ve read but I’m giving it to The Simple Wild because wow. This book was a christmas gift from Melanie @ Meltotheany and I thought it would be good and fun, but wow. This book stole my heart and took me away to Alaska.

It was also, if you remember, my top read of May!

Book cover for The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker shows a brunette in a hat, looking over a forrest, watching a Cessna fly past with the title in a green, textured font. In the bottom right hand corner is a stamp which says, "Imi Reviews Books' May 2019 Read of the Month"

NEW FICTIONAL CRUSH

Sabran Berethnet

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I’m not entirely sure I would class Sab as a crush, because my deep rooted love for her is so much more than that. There is something about the characters Samantha Shannon creates that forces a bond between me and them. I can’t let them go. I am too far gone. She is the true Queen of my heart.

Sabran Berethnet, digitally drawn by Roman of Roman's Art. She is dressed in Elizabethan formal dress of deep red with a bejewelled stomacher, high neck and crown.
Art by Roman

NEW FAVE CHARACTER

Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Adult Historical [GR | BUY]

My answer to this should definitely be Ead from Priory, but I wanted to change it up a bit so have a different fave from another 5-star read.

Evelyn Hugo was a dream for me. Morally grey, extremely human despite her status as a starlet, flawed, inspirational and so much more. I related to her, hated her, worshipped her and cried for her.

When everyone was calling this book their top 2018 read, they weren’t over exaggerating. This book is brilliant, and what better time to pick it up than now?

A nine image aesthetic board which features the following images, left to right:
1. A woman in an emerald floor-length gown.
2. A female hand with red pained nails grasping the back of a blonde female head.
3. The word 'AMBITION' typed in white on a green background.
4. The phrase, 'you don't make history by being liked,' in black on a white background.
5. A black and white image of a woman in a ballgown, holding an Oscar.
6. The phrase, 'bisexuals have always existed,' in black on a white background.
7. Emerald green fabric, possibly a waist or sofa, being grasped by a female hand with emerald painted nails.
8. Two women in red-orange lipstick almost kissing each other.
9. A laughing woman with red lipstick, in a sparkling emerald gown.
The cover of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo depicts a blonde latina with red painted nails and red lips lying down in an emerald silk gown with a plunging neckline - this is Evelyn Hugo.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
★★★★★

YA Contemporary [GR | BUY]

Thanks to Kayla, the author, I was lucky enough to read an eARC during F/F February. All I can say is wow. While this book is technically a contemporary, it has a lot of sci fi elements so I would definitely recommend it to SF lovers!

I read this in one sitting in just a few hours. Due to the chapter format, it’s incredibly high paced and unputdownable. Throughout that short space of time, I felt a myriad of emotions, but you can bet by the end I was bawling like nothing else.

The cover of The Weight of the Stars depicts protagonist Alexandria, a mixed race young woman with short, cropped blonde hair, staring off into the distance. Overlayed on the portrait of her are three rows of soundwaves made up out of galaxies.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
★★★★★

New Adult Romance [GR | BUY]

This book could have fit into so may of these categories, but I chose this one because of the iconic video I posted on twitter of me CRYING WITH LAUGHTER while reading this book. I devoured it in one sitting and holy hell it was fantastic.

I remember being apprehensive about it because whenever American authors write Brits, they’re heavy on the stereotypes and get things wrong and it bugs me. And yeah, there was some stuff, but it was overshadowed by the AMAZING.

Notable others are A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven and Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L. C. Rosen.

Red, White & Royal Blue book cover is pink while the title covers the whole image in each colour respectively. Leaning casually on the word 'Blue' are the two protagonists - Alex Claremont-Diaz, First Son of the US on the left, and His Royal Highness Henry, Prince of Wales on the right. In the bottom right hand corner is a stamp which says, "Imi Reviews Books' June 2019 Read of the Month"

FAVE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
★★★★★

YA Contemporary
[GR | BUY | DVD]

I read THUG at the end of last year and then Walker YA were kind enough to send me the film version. This is actually the only book to film I’ve seen this year so it’s kind of a default answer.

The adaptation was really good, very true to the book and made a lot of great strides for the Black Lives Matter movement. However, as a film, if you saw it without connection to the book, it isn’t the best.

Movie poster for The Hate U Give featuring Amandla Stenberg who plays the protagonist Starr in a torn double image - one side in school uniform, and the other in a red hoodie. The tag line is "two worlds, one voice, no going back."

FAVE POST OF THE YEAR

My review of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Again, to no one’s surprise, Priory claims another title. It was so challenging because I love the book so much and I wanted to do it justice. It took me a long time to actually write, but I’m really proud of that post.

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK OF THE YEAR

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
★★★★½

YA Fantasy [GR | BUY]

Honestly, the foiling on this book is beyond incredible and was made even better by Illumicrate when they created the gold version for the special edition box. Both editions are absolutely amazing and to be honest, I love the dust jacket cover too.

Personally, the book wasn’t one of my favourites and if it hadn’t featured characters that I’m so in love with from previous Grishaverse books then the rating would probably be lower.

The picture depicts three copies of King of Scars. One is front facing and has the dust jacket on which depicts the shield of Nikolai Lantsov. It is on top of two other copies stacked spine forwards. The top edition is the standard copy with the naked spine. It reads King of Scars in gold foil, surrounded by foiled patterns. Below that is the Illumicrate edition's naked spine. It reads "the monster is me and I am the monster," in black foil while surrounded by foiled patterns.

TOP PRIORITY READS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR

Well, if you read my monthly wrap ups, you know that there are 10 books which have been recommended my friends and 12 books that I chose back in December which I told myself I have to read in 2019. I have currently read 1 of those 22 books. So as I’m sure you can guess, those books need to be my priority now. You can find all of my 2019 goals on this post.

MY TOP 10 OF 2019 SO FAR…

Book covers of Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff, Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum, A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven, A Closed and Common orbit by Becky Chambers, The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker, The Wicked King by Holly Black, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard.

Feel free to take part in the tag if you haven’t already – if you have, let me know in the comments!


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5 thoughts on “MID-YEAR CHECK IN | Books that made me laugh, cry, sigh and squeal!

  1. Max Perry says:

    I also have Dorian Gray on my TBR (asap, because it’s research for my novel)! Also, you might be interested to know that Abigail Barnette is the pen name of Jenny Trout, who has a blog which includes some fun chapter by chapter roasting of a few books, including 50 shades and EL James latest.

    Liked by 1 person

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