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Mid Year Freak Out Tag

Mid Year Freak Out #3

I’m freaking out for the third time! I like this post idea, as it forces me to reflect on my reading halfway through the year instead of just at the end when Kathleen and I do our Best Of List. I had fun going through my Goodreads data, and bonus, it highlights the other genres I read.

Best book you read in 2019 so far

Michelle Obama’s book Becoming was a beautiful tribute to her family, community and politics. I listened to it on audio and hearing her voice elevated the story as her intelligence and compassion shown through the entire narrative. I highly recommend it and think it would be a perfect choice for book clubs.

Best sequel you’ve read so far 

After reading the supernatural Harrow County: Countless Haints, I quickly read the entire eight-volume series and reviewed them all on the blog. As of now, I am expecting this series to make my top 2019 list.

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

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson is set in 1936 in Appalachia and is about “blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian”. I have family ancestry from Kentucky and I am a librarian, thus I eagerly await this book. I am currently on the waiting list for this book. (edit- done!)

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I look forward to every Walking Dead volume and both the mystery-thriller Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers books by John Sandford, but I really can’t wait for the graphic novel Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks!

Biggest disappointment

Author Brian Wood can typically do no wrong with me, as I am a huge fan of his Briggs Land, Rebels and Northlanders series, but Sword Daughter fell short. A certain plot point defied logic. Getting past this was impossible, and colored my feelings towards the rest of the story.

Biggest surprise

I was introduced to the kitschy awesomeness of Grant Morrison’s 1988 take on Animal Man, one of DC’s B-level superheroes. I was blown away by the chapter The Coyote Gospel and now feel I truly can claim to be a comics fan after reading this cult classic.

Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

I’m actually going to tweak this and change it to an artist, since I read so many graphic novels. Jonas Scharf has illustrated Bone Parish (more info below on that book) and Warlords of Appalachia, two outstanding books that will make it onto my best of 2019 list in December.

Newest fictional crush

LeVar Burton is the celebrity I most want to meet.  While he is far from fictional, I love all the short story fiction he reads aloud on his podcast LeVar Burton Reads.

Newest favourite character

I love Grace, the matriarch in Bone Parish, a new supernatural thriller. The Winters family of New Orleans has discovered how to manufacture the ashes of the dead into a powerful hallucinogenic drug that lets the person snorting the drug to experience everything the dead person lived through when they were alive. Powerful but flawed, she is reaping the consequences for selling this drug.

Book that made you happy

I am a huge fan of Faith Erin Hicks- as I love her graphic novel Friends with Boys and her Nameless City trilogy, so when I saw that she had written her first YA chapter book, I jumped to read Comics Will Break Your Heart.  It was a lovely ode to nerd culture and young love!

Book that made you sad

Although I am a fan of Stephen King’s short stories and earlier work (before he got too wordy), I have avoided Pet Semetary for many years, as the subject matter of a child dying was too hard for me to read as a mother.  The book was appropriately atmospheric but what was especially terrifying was that the Creed family was so normal and nice, but the burial grounds got their hooks into the doctor father and wouldn’t let go. There was so much additional devastation and death after the initial tragedy, so it was a chilling read as you couldn’t help but wonder if so much misfortune could show up on our own doorstep without warning.

Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year 

I read Infinity Gauntlet awhile back which Infinity Wars and Endgame are based off, and this movie was an excellent adaptation, although many characters from the movie are different from the book.

Favourite review you have written this year 

Kathleen and I participated in a fun eight-part series, Fiction’s Fearless Females, and my entry was Star Trek Voyager’s captain, Kathryn Janeway. She was an example of grace under fire who exemplified remarkable leadership skills. Janeway not only is a hero but a role model and a perfect example of a fearless female!

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

The two Sleepless graphic novels by Sarah Vaughn with art by Leila del Duca were gorgeous. Del Duca created a fully realized kingdom with detailed backgrounds that make looking at the panels a delight. The era has a Renaissance feel with deep jewel tones adding to the atmosphere. The kingdom’s inhabitants are drawn beautifully as is their courtly attire, and there is a welcome diversity.

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

I review YA books for the magazine School Library Journal, but can’t reveal what I read until after it is published in the magazine. However, I also read advance copies for NetGalley and I can tell you I have graphic novels Stiletto by Palle Schmidt and Aquaman: Unspoken Water by Kelly DeConnick in queue.

Halfway through the year and I’m on schedule for my Goodreads challenge of 100 books, as I’m at 56 with a few books almost done this week. So far, so good. Bring on the last half of 2019!

-Nancy

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Mid-Year Freak Out Tag²

I’m freaking out again! Let’s check in and see how my reading and blogging year is going:

Best book you read in 2018 so far

Chosen by my book club, I picked up this book uncertain if I would connect with it. But it grabbed me immediately, and brought up incredibly strong feelings. The compelling audio narration made me reflect on my own troubled childhood, and gave me much food for thought. This family drama set in Alaska in the 1970’s was filled with very real characters,  and this beautifully told story of survival (both physical and emotional) has stayed with me. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Best sequel you’ve read so far 

In the first volume A Well Regulated Militia, Brian Wood first gives us a lengthy portrait of the fictional character Seth Abbott and his journey from farm boy to one of the well respected leaders of the Green Mountain Boys. Then we are given shorter non-linear vignettes of other loyalists and patriots and their contributions to the war. This second historical fiction graphic novel follows suit. In These Free and Independent States, we revisit Vermont to find that Seth’s son John is a boat-making savant. Spanning the years from 1786 to 1816, John comes to age as the new nation faces several threats and a new Navy is commissioned

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

I ordered this YA book for my teen department, and it is a summer reading choice for the local high school that my library serves. I have an audio edition on hold and I look forward to listening to this fantasy novel that so many people seem to be raving about.

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Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I look forward to every Walking Dead volume and both the mystery-thriller Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers books by John Sandford.

Biggest disappointment

A big fan of Andy Weir’s first book The Martian, I eagerly looked forward to his next book and was pleased to find a heroine in his second novel. Imagine my dismay when my opinion of Artemis  plummeted chapter by chapter. I was hate reading it at the end.

Biggest surprise

Author Michelle McNamara was nearing completion of this true-crime novel when she unexpectedly died. Her husband and two co-writers were able to finish it, and soon after publication with the resulting renewed attention to the crime, the case was solved. It was a bittersweet surprise that McNamara’s book helped bring the killer to justice. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

M.A. Bennett wrote a twisty psychological thriller for teens that I found very appealing. Her debut novel was a strong start, so I’m willing to check out further work from her. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Newest fictional crush

I’ve been devouring graphic novels written by Brian Wood- does that count as a crush?

Newest favourite character

Enna, Sven’s traditional wife, from the Viking saga Northlanders by Brain Wood. In the first volume I hated Sven but loved Enna. She truly redeemed his character.

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Book that made you happy

I love Star Wars! I love short stories! Together this anthology was a win-win for me. From A Certain Point Of View is a must read for all Star Wars fans. It strengthened and filled in gaps in the narrative and this new canon was a treat from beginning to end.

Book that made you sad

What Happened is an apt title, for truly, what happened in the 2016 election? In this book Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what transpired behind the scenes in her election bid to be president. Spanning many years of her life, but concentrating mostly on the two years preceding the election, she shares her thoughts and experiences of what went on. She reflects on what went wrong, she owns up to her mistakes, and she gives the reader a fuller picture of who she is. I cried several times while I listened to the audio while I mourned for a future that did not happen. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year 

Ready Player One was a solid adaptation of the book, but it didn’t knock my socks off. It’s The Hate U Give that is coming out later this year that I think will end of being my favourite film adaptation. It’s first trailer looks fabulous!

Favourite review you have written this year 

Kathleen and I did a fun blog series about who is the best cinematic Chris with bloggers Michael of My Comic Relief and Kalie of Just Dread-full. My choice of Chris Pine was obviously the best, but the whole experience of writing for this series was enjoyable!

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

Above The Timberline by Gregory Manchess is a unique book, that isn’t quite a graphic novel, instead it is a highly illustrated book, a so-called “painted novel”. Very reminiscent of the Dinotopia book series (minus the dinosaurs but add polar bears) by James Gurney, this large sized book has 240 pages of lush paintings that transport you to another time and place.The artwork is exquisite. He vividly creates a believable tundra landscape, and paints his characters, animals and interior backgrounds with precision.

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

I am a member of NetGalley and try to keep my book queue to a minimum so my ratio stays high. Right now the only book I have to get to is Other People by Joff Winterhart.

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Half way through the year and I’m on schedule for my Goodreads challenge of 100 books, as I’m at 54 with a few books almost done this week. So far, so good. Bring on the last half of 2018!

-Nancy

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

I saw this recently and thought this would be a perfect mid-year review. I had fun going through my Goodreads data, and bonus, it highlights the other genres I read. My Goodreads challenge is 100 books, and I am currently at 59, so I am ahead of the game!

Best book you read in 2017 so far

Superman: American Alien was fresh and fun and exactly what I needed. It had seven short stories about what shaped Clark Kent into Superman, and was arranged chronologically from his childhood until his days in Metropolis. The stories fit right into Superman canon, and the different artists paired with author Max Landis made for a superb must read.

Best sequel you’ve read so far 

The conclusion to Revival had a poignant ending to the complete series, and felt true to the beginning. That I had a cameo in the last issue was an added bonus! Yes, I will find any excuse in the world to bring up again that I won a contest to be drawn into the series!

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

This is a tiny bit of a cheat, as the third volume of ElfQuest: The Final Quest is released on July 11th, but I will purchase it soon afterwards. (BTW- The pec definition on the male elves is going a bit overboard)

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I am eagerly looking forward to Rainbow Rowell penning Runaways for Marvel! I thought the original had a great story line, so I think RR and Kris Anka working together will be gold.

Biggest disappointment

Civil War II– I feel like I have mentioned my disappointment in this book over and over again. I’m not even going to link the review- take my word for it.

Biggest surprise

Briggs Land by was recommended to me by Graham Crackers, my comic book store, and I was leery about reading about a rural armed white supremacy group- but it was very nuanced and timely to today’s political climate.

Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

Jeff Zentner of The Serpent King. This book ripped my heart out, yet I adored it. I will definitely be reading what ever he writes next!

Newest fictional crush

I read a lot of graphic novels and YA books- and neither give me good options for a character that is crush worthy as I am a grown woman.

Newest favourite character

Botille from The Passion of Dolssa. Historical fiction at it’s finest! Set in 1241 in the countryside of Provensa France, after the bloody Crusades when religious fervor was still strong, the story details the unlikely friendship between Dolssa and Botille. Botille is a practical and loving peasant girl, whose act of kindness affects the whole town. I would want to be friends with her in real life.

Book that made you happy

The photography book Abandoned America:Dismantling the Dream  by Matthew Christopher made me happy. Why does looking at pictures of decaying and rotting building make me happy? I don’t know what that says about me, but I have followed this photographer and his website for years, and I like that he is achieving success for his passion. I enjoy learning about history and ponder modern society’s relationship with our past, and this book brings those thoughts to life.

Book that made you sad

Our Souls At Night by Kent Huruf was a beautifully melancholy novel, both in subject matter and in knowing this was Kent Haruf’s last novel. I have loved his Holt, Colorado set books, and will miss visiting the fictional town and feeling as if his townspeople are indeed real.

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

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is a lovely book that is atypical in layout. It chronicles the scifi adventures of a group of people escaping from their planet that is under attack. Told through emails, schematics, military files, instant messages, medical reports and interviews- the graphics make for a fun read.

So there you have it- my mid year review! I could tag people, but as I wasn’t tagged myself and choose to do this, you can too!

-Nancy

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