Has the realisation that the middle of the year has dawned and past shattered your mind, soul, spirit yet? Because it certainly has for me.
However, instead of morning and mourning the supersonic speed of time, allow me to instead freak out over how much I loved my reads this year, as well as how my TBR pile towers over those that I have read!Spoiler alert: I’m being dramatic, but not hyperbolic. (And yes, that was a reference to The Poppy War, ah the wonders of foreshadowing!)
Thank you Abby for tagging me! Also a note here, I played around the questions and picked and chose.
Click HERE to view the original questions you can use for your blog!1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2021 2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021 3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to 4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year 5. Biggest disappointment 6. Biggest surprise 7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you) 8. Newest fictional crush 9. Newest favorite character 10. Book that made you cry 11. Book that made you happy 12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received) 13.What books do you need to read by the end of the year? 14. Favorite book community member
1. HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU READ?For someone who isn’t the greatest fan of math, it’s kind of unsettling that I adore statistics and pie charts so much! (Ohoho you think this is much? Wait till you see this year’s end of the year wrap up) Anyway, this year from January to June I’ve read 31 books which means I’m one book ahead of my reading goal of 60, inclusive of 4 rereads and 9 new releases. (all thanks to blog tours, and one being my first ARC after being denied 19 others due to “geographical restrictions” sigh – it’s not funny guys) One of the goals I set for myself this year was to read more diversely, specifically read more books by Asian authors, and 48% is a dramatic increase from my measly <10% last year, but I’m determined to increase that figure in the second half of the year, and hence my TBR below. One of the things I love doing is analysing the genres I’ve read because they, in a way, allude to my mental health state and moods throughout the year.
School has been hectic and stressful and I’m not surprised to see fantasy, my form of reality escape, emerge as one of the top genres. I’m pleasantly surprised to see historical as well, though it is one of my favourite genres, I find it quite hard to read during the school year where everything is so academic already I lose interesting in anything more so…
Another surprise would be science-fiction, a genre I started appreciating more this year and found some favourites in, any recs please hit me up!
2. BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2021Is anyone even surprised at this point? If you couldn’t tell, I’m practically obsessed with this series to an unhealthy extent. I first fell in love with The Poppy War in March, took 3 months to gather the courage and plunge into the abyss of pain that was The Dragon Republic in early June, then two weeks later reread both of them because I was procrastinating The Burning God, and finally succumbed to it and screamed my way through TBG and emerged… broken.
I’m going to halt myself here for if I carry on, this whole post would become a Poppy War rant and I need to save it for a review (yes, it’s been 4 months and I still lack the words to form coherent and thoughtful sentences about this book for a proper review) but just know that this series was brilliant in its characterisation and military strategy, rooted SO meaningfully in lore and history which resonated so much with me as a Chinese, and simply the physical manifestation of PAIN.
3. BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2021
Okay I’m going to avoid using The Dragon Republic here for if I don’t watch myself, every answer would be The Poppy War related.I didn’t read many sequels this year but one that was certainly memorable was Vengeful by V.E. Schwab. It maintained all the intensity and adrenaline I gulped down in Vicious, introduced a whole new band of deadly, enigmatic characters while delving deeper into old ones, and crafted a complex, multi-layered, multi-timeline story that kept my heart pumping!
4. NEW RELEASES YOU HAVEN’T READ YET, BUT WANT TO
Let Part 1 of showing off my colossal TBR begin!
Honestly, it is all your fault my fellow bloggers, if not for you I would not have known about SO MANY incredible new releases haha. Here are a few I’m eager to get my hands on.Made in Korea, an enemies to lovers involving two entrepreneurial teens caught my eye with the reference to Shark Tank (I can watch it ALL DAY), especially thanks to Saniya and Rania. The Other Side of Perfect sounded like such a heartfelt read to me, and I was convinced by Ahaana and Ritz. I instantly snagged a copy of The Infinity Courts because of such a unique premise (death and sci-fi, anyone?) and even more so because that cover is just gorgeous. Many thanks to Katie for her lovely review which brought it to my attention… Last year, The Alice Network and The Huntress both showed me such a different, action-packed side of historical fiction and thus I’m eager to get my hands on The Rose Code as I’m sure Kate Quinn will impress me. Ah I’m trying not to be salty about the 19 ARCs I’ve been declined due to “geographical restrictions” (tips anyone?) but this was one of them, While Paris Slept is a WW2 novel that wriggled its way into my TBR because of the theme of family love. I enjoyed Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six, first hand saw my Bookstagram feed clouded with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo… after hearing Emme gush about it, I’m even more hyped forMalibu Rising! No one can deny the fact The Hate You Give was such a powerful book and I’m incredibly excited to read Concrete Rose and have Angie Thomas hit me with all the feels and meaningful messages again, especially with how much Abby loved it! Another one brought to my radar thanks to a blogger would be Blood Like Magic because of Karla, it sounds like such a meaningful and futuristic read, I’m hyped!
5. MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASES FOR THE 2ND HALF OF THE YEARSINGAPOREAN AUTHOR ALERT!! I’ve been so hyped about Jade Fire Gold for this reason, especially after I heard of that fact that there were traces of Southeast Asian legends in it. Honestly, I will read ANYTHING that Marie Lu writes, she’s established herself as one of my autobuy authors after The Young Elites and Warcross. I just read Skyhunter (book 1) a month ago and it was awesome, though the cliffhanger as well as the quotes Marie Lu is dropping on her Instagram are killing me, so yes September and Steelstriker, please come soon! Ah These Violent Delights caused me so much pain (Dare I even say it’s comparable to the agony The Dragon Republic left me in?) and I am so ready for more action, more romance and more… pain in Our Violent Ends. The fact that I’ve only read Jade City (book 1) and am already anticipating Jade Legacy (book 3) shows how brilliant Jade City was. It was such an atmospheric read filled with magic and kungfu, I can’t imagine how breathtaking Jade Legacy will be. Chinese mythology in a science fiction read with an assassination? Say no more, Iron Widow I’m waiting for you. How We Fall Apart has dominated my entire Instagram feed and wow dark academia with a murder but make it Asian? Yes. The cover was enough reason, but the fact that it is a Japanese historical fantasy and has the tagline “Death is her Destiny” has me ridiculously excited for The Keeper of Night. I’ve heard many many differing opinions about You’ve Reached Sam, some bawled over it, some found it underwhelming… I found the premise to be such an emotional one so I’m curious as to where I’ll lie on the spectrum!
6. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTAh I desperately wanted to love A Darker Shade of Magic and The Gilded Wolves for there had been so much hype and love for them, and I was shocked to have been underwhelmed by the former especially after loving VE Schwab’s Villains duology and Addie LaRue.
7. BIGGEST SURPRISEThe Ones We’re Meant to Find and The Gilded Ones were two books that pleasantly surprised me. I was wondering if their stories would be as beautiful as their covers, and they did not disappoint. The former is a tale of two sisters set in a futuristic world that also examines climate change and technology, and latter one of an outcast who realises she has demonic powers and bands together with a group of other girls like her that explores identity and misogyny. Both were incredibly resonant that I’m sure will make it to my top 10 list of the year!
8. FAVOURITE NEW AUTHOR (DEBUT/NEW TO YOU)These Violent Delights and The Poppy War are probably my two favourite books for this year. Wow, I’ve said it, I’ve picked among my favourites, that feels monumental.
These Violent Delights is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with vibrant and vulnerable characters, an intense enemies-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers… romance, as well such an atmospheric setting and a thoughtful commentary on colonisation, it automatically became a favourite. On the other hand, The Poppy War, a military grimdark fantasy that is rooted in lore and history… well shall I start screaming paragraphs about it again?
9. UNDERRATED GEMSSlay and The Half Orphan’s Handbook were two books that I loved, but more than 75% of the world doesn’t seem to know of their existence? This is something that must change. Slay is an incredible book with compelling characters, meaningful discussions on race, and with great Warcross vibes radiating from the VR game in it. The Half Orphan’s Handbook was another that was a sensitive and nuanced debut that handled themes like grief and acceptance so well!
10. BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRYAh sometimes I wish I didn’t have emotions for this two books made my dead soul feel things to such a devastating extent. Lovely War was one of the first books that both brought out the beauty and power of love and music, as well as unflinchingly portray the horrors and guilt of war, it’s one of my favourite war novels of all time for how much grace it handles these themes. We Are Not Free, similarly was pure soul, pure emotion and pure pain. With 14 perspective of Japanese American teens, it was truly a thematic and emotional response to discrimination and identity during WW2 that I hold close to my heart.
11. BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPYOn hindsight as I’m trying to conjure up an explanation, I have no idea why I chose Skyhunter for this prompt, because no surprise here, Marie Lu broke me once again. Through meaningful characters and an even more cruel world, Marie Lu manages to weave important themes of discrimination, oppression and hope, alongside an intense adventure that I flew through in less than a day. Lore, on the other hand brought so many smiles to my face, with the intriguing spin on Greek mythology which pleased my PJO heart, as well as so many loveable characters!
12. MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK BOUGHT
13. WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?
I’m not going to say much and feel overwhelmed by the amount of books I’ve yet to read, but just want to give credits to Cherry and Kaya for getting me excited for We Hunt the Flame, Abby and Ashmita for bringing The Silence of Bones to my radar as well as Kimberly for getting me intrigued about City of Brass!
And that’s it! Ever since I joined the book blogging community last year, I’ve always wanted to get the chance to do this tag and after a 9 month wait, it’s here haha. Honestly though I can’t believe how fast time has flown and that we’re already in the second half of the years which for me, studies wise will be an extremely demanding period, so do pardon me if I pull a mysterious disappearance again!