Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag | Best & Worst Books of 2019 (So far!)


I recently saw this tag going around the Youtubesphere and wanted to join in via blog form. We all too often reflect on your reading history at the end of the year, so many little treasures can get lost along the way. This is a great opportunity to chat about some of books that may otherwise go amiss. It's my personal goal to read 100 books before the end of the year, and as I am currently on my 44th book, it isn't going great! But it's fine, it's fineeee. Follow along with my reading on Goodreads, it's most definitely the most pure of social media. Now, let's get to it.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019.
Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty

To be honest, this was a tie but I pledged to only answer each question with a single book, and the other works into another question so.. yes. Nevertheless, Big Little Lies was an absolute favourite of mine. It made me pick up the remainder of Liane's books with rapid speed, and though nothing else became an instant favourite, I do love her writing. She manages to mix a mystery/thriller with a classic chic-lit (I hate that term) without it seeming too try hard. This specific book is revolved around 3 women and a murder. Like with most of Liane's books, the story is told in reverse and that alone can keep you up at night flipping pages with the enthusiasm of a child holding a wrapped gift. I think what made Big Little Lies stand out to me was the female empowerment that became the centre of this twisty story. I've never felt empowered before when I've closed the last page of a book, but this one did that for me. I loved the characters, the friendships between women, and the classic but never tiresome 'mum life' side of the story. I could honestly recommend this to anyone as it ticks so many boxes in terms of genres.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2019.
Having only read one sequel thus far, and not particularly liking it, I was going to change this question to 'Sequel I want to read in the near future', but I hand-on-heart can't think of a single one. I rarely read books that are a part of a series, let alone newer books. When I was younger I devoured things like the Vampire Academy series, House of Night, The Twilight Saga, the Fallen series. But as I've gotten older and my genre taste has changed to more of a contemporary/historical fiction vibe, it's rare to find a sequel. Sorry!

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.
The Silent Patient
by Alex Michaelides

I've heard so many great things about this newly released thriller. I honestly have no idea what it's about, and I refuse to look it up in fear of being spoiled for something plot related. A thriller synopsis can give far too much away. But yes, I want to read this!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
The Testaments
by Margaret Atwood

Like most people, I only picked up The Handmaid's Tale due to the popularity of the show. And like most, I loved it. It was most definitely a dry read, but given the subject matter, what does one expect? The writing was beautifully done and I'm really looking forward to seeing where Margaret herself chooses to take this world.

5. Biggest disappointment.
The Light We Lost
by Jill Santopolo

This has so much hype on Bookstagram (Speaking of, have you followed me on Instagram? I have both a book page @BranchingPages and a regular blogging account @RootingBranches) and this book has been a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Club pick, most reviews have been "This book made me cry buckets!" so I was pretty exciting going into it. I was sure that this would be a 4 star, if not 5 star read. But... no. The Light We Lost is a romance story written from the aftermath of heartache. It's sad, sure, and the ending rivalled Me Before You's, but... the couple was so incompatible. I hated Gabe, and Lucy was infuriating. They didn't work. There wasn't one scene where I found them compatible. It threw off the entire story for me.

6. Biggest surprise.
The Kiss Quotient 
by Helen Hoang

I went into this book fully expecting to just enjoy it. I had already given it a 3 star rating in my head (don't judge me), so imagine my surprise when I instantly started to count down the days until the follow-up book The Bride Test came out. (Which I didn't enjoy, but that's not the point.) In the style of Me Before You, this has great well-rounded characters which is why I enjoyed it so much. Following the unlikely romantic story of a male escort and a woman who has Aspergers, The Kiss Quotient holds so much more emotion between it's pages than you'd ever expect when opening it up.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Celeste Ng,
author of Little Fires Everywhere & Everything I Never Told You

I read both of her books earlier this year, and the two were 5 star reads for me. I quickly fell in love with her writing. She has a way of writing family dynamics that is as beautiful as it is tragic. I've never questioned her characters voices. I'd be sure to pick up anything else she writes.

8. Newest couple crush.*
Jo and Laurie, 
Little Women

Granted, they aren't technically a couple but I was shipping this duo for a good portion of this classic novel. I loved their chemistry and found myself chuckling along with their never ending banter. I had actually never read Little Women prior to picking it up earlier this year and I enjoyed it far more than I initially thought. For a classic, it reads surprisingly well. The characters were all very likeable and it wasn't difficult to follow along with the story, much to my relief. Love or hate it, classic literature can be daunting to read. It sometimes isn't a very enjoyable experience, but this was great and I may even pick up Jo's Boys in the near future.

9. Newest favourite character.
Daisy Jones,
Daisy Jones & The Six

Much like The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid's newest release Daisy Jones & The Six captured my heart within a mere chapter.  When party girl Daisy Jones joins the 60s-70s rock band The Six, they are dubious as to whether she'll fit. Billy, the band's leader man, dislikes her attitude and she isn't all too fussed about him either. Can two people who dislike each other get along for the music that will undeniably skyrocket their careers? This is already well loved online, but boy, I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. This is a love letter written to modern day women, from women of the past. (Okay, fictional women, but let me dream them into reality). It's beautiful, realistic, and feminist as hell. Read it.

10. Book that made you cry.
One True Loves
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I could name a few, it seems like lately I'm just a gushy reader. But the one that instantly comes to mind is another Taylor Jenkins Reid book. Can you tell she has quickly become one of my favourite authors? If not my absolute favourite. whoa, big statement. One True Loves tells the story of a young woman whose husband goes missing in a helicopter accident while travelling over the pacific, and the aftermath of it all. We follow her story as she attempts to rebuilt her life by moving home to work in her parents bookstore, and eventually falling in love again. Months later she gets the phone call that she once ached for.. her husband is alive and coming home. The synopsis of this caught my attention, but what I truly "enjoyed"was the way author wrote about grief. It was beautiful. And many tears were shed.

11. Book that made you happy.
Furiously Happy 
by Jenny Lawson

I don't think I've laughed out loud so much with a book as much as I did with this non-fiction read written by blogger Jenny Lawson. I loved every step of the ride. Breaking the stigma around mental health and chronic pain, she writes the darkest thoughts we all have at 3am yet somehow still manages to make the topic light. I get why a lot of people write about mental health and try to make the entire thing seem uplifting, to not completely tarnish any hope, but sometimes you need someone to write with no filter. To help you feel understood, and not so wacko. Though I cried a lot during this read, the laughter is what I remember the most. And the desire to keep going  with both her work, and life.

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year.
The Bronte Sisters - Three Novels 
(Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey)

I mean, look at it! It's a beautiful edition of three classics that I *gulp* still haven't read. I know, I know! This gorgeous cover instantly caught my attention and heart. From the gold edges, floral pattern, and pink ribbon.. instant book porn. Even better, I got it for a mere $5 from a library sale. Score! If you're interested, it was a Barnes & Noble edition.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Um.. do you have all day? I have to read so many to complete my personal challenge of reading 100 books in 2019. But my immediate TBR currently consists of these books:

Becoming, Michelle Obama
The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
The Last Letter To Your Lover, Jojo Moyes
My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward, Mark Lukach
Night, Elie Wiesel
Elizabeth Is Missing, Emma Healey 

Feel free to answer any of the questions in the comments! This was such a fun tag.

As with most book posts I do, this is in collaboration with my lovely husband @BilliamSWN. heck out his post over on the SomewhatNerdy site.

*question changed from 'Newest Favourite Crush'

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