Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag 2020


So, 2020 has been a shitshow so far, huh? I can't believe we're already halfway through the year, yet it also feels like it ought to already be 2025 what with all the insanity that is happening in the world. As always, I'm here with the Mid Year Freak Out Tag. My reading has been all over the place so far, I've read the most I ever have in 6 months yet I haven't really found any fiction books that'll make it onto my all-time favorites list. However, non-fiction is thriving in my life. What a weird time. Without further ado, let's get into the questions..

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.
So far, 2020 has been the year of non-fiction for me. I read Know My Name by Chanel Miller in February and nothing has yet to compare to the overall feel of that book. It touched my heart and had a huge impact on my overall life. If you haven't yet heard of it, this is the memoir of the girl who overcame the rape of Brock Turner. But really, it's so much more than that. It's a glimpse at the life of a young woman who's learning to heal herself and more notably, it's an unflinching look at how lost we all feel in our early 20's. Chanel Miller opens up discussions on sexual assault, race, feminism, youth, and the expectations that are put upon young women in life. Man, woman, cat, everyone needs to read this book. 

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2020.
I'm not a huge series reader, so this is always going to be a tough question for me. However, I have been slowly working my way through A Series Of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket. So far, my favourite in the series was the 6th installment, The Ersatz Elevator. I think it had the perfect amount of character growth, misery, and humor. 

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.
I placed my first ever preorder this year, which was Out Of Love by Hazel Hayes. It's currently on it's way to me and I'm so excited to finally get my hands on her debut novel. This is a love story told in reverse and sounds just as heartbreaking as Normal People by Sally Rooney. I can't wait to cry all the tears.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
I'm probably going to get persecuted at the stake for this, but Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer. I know The Twilight Saga is problematic for a multitude of reasons but it's still a huge part of my childhood and the inner teenage Anne is still squealing at the prospect of a new book set in this universe. So with a shamed head, I choose this book as my most anticipated release. 

5. Biggest disappointment.
Sadly, Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire. I really loved the fourth installment in the Wayward Children series so it got me really psyched for the next book, however, it felt so cluttered and utterly pointless. I adored Jack & Jill from the series, but this book kind of messed up their entire dynamic and felt too try hard. I have a complicated history with the author when it comes to this series, but nevertheless, it was still mighty disappointing. 

6. Biggest surprise.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. I loved this book, so much so that I immediately picked up Lolita which this took heavy inspiration from. I don't know what it is about a dark "romantic" contemporary that deals with a student/professor relationship that speaks to me but alas, I couldn't stop listening to this book. Months after and I still think about it daily. Huge surprise, especially as I hadn't heard anything about it prior to starting it on Scribd. 

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Kiley Reid. I listened to Such A Fun Age earlier this year and fell completely in love with both the writing and the story. If you don't know, her debut novel was about a young black nanny who is wrongly accused of kidnapping the white child she's looking after, and the domino affect that has on the life of both her and the child's parents. It is an interesting new take on wealth, race, and the power of a female orientated friendship. 

8. Newest ship.*
Is saying Michelle and Barack Obama cheating? Yeah, it probably is but after my husband @BilliamSWNtw said it, I can't unthink it. I read Becoming in January and though I knew this power couple were going to end up together, I couldn't help but root for their relationship throughout Michelle's memoir. They're adorable. 

9. Newest favourite character.
As mentioned above, this has been the year of non-fiction for me so I don't have an answer for a fictional character. However, if we're going for a real person who I grew very fond of due to their memoir, I'll say Shonda Rhimes. Her book Year Of Yes had been on my TBR for years, but I always put it off as I (wrongly) assumed it was just over hyped. However, I devoured this book and it made me respect Shonda on a whole new level. She's a truly inspiring woman. 

10. Book that made you cry.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. I literally got dehydrated by listening to this book in one sitting. I laughed, cried, laughed, and cried some more. I really think this debut book is reminiscent of Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, which is a book I loved. In Five Years follows two friends and the turns that life gives them, I know the synopsis says that this is a book about a woman who wakes up five years in the future only to see that the life she loves and knows is long gone and instead she's engaged to a guy she doesn't know in a place that she's never been, but it's so much more than that. That description really does the story an injustice. If you want a wonderful story of friendship, loss, and possibility, pick this up. 

11. Book that made you happy.
I didn't want to answer any of these questions with a reread book, but I honestly haven't read anything new that made me happy. So.. I'll have to go with the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, I've been slowly making my way back through the series and have been having a wonderful time. They're funny, silly, nostalgic, and wonderfully entertaining. There's nothing better than rereading something you've already loved. 

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
I'm answering this with  book I found beautiful both in look and contents. I'd have to go with The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman. Emma from Drinking By My Shelf described this book as written in the style of a mood board and I fully agree. Alice Hoffman's writing is always so beautiful, but this newest edition to her inventory is near magical. The Rules Of Magic is a prequel to the book Practical Magic, the book that inspired the much loved movie starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. It's the story of the two crazy aunts as teenagers, and how the curse of the family affected them. It's truly beautiful, in every way. Much more of an experience than a book.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Do you have 12 hours for me to list them all? Heh. There are so many books that I hope to read before the end of the year but my top 5 picks are:

Beloved by Toni Morrison
Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier 
Final Girls by Riley Sager 
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin 
Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore 

So there we have it. I can't believe we're already halfway through 2020. This has definitely been a whirlwind of a year. What book are you hoping to read before the end of the year? Let me know in the comments! 

I tag 

*Just like last year, I've changed this question from 'newest fictional crush' to better suit me as I really don't get fictional crushes anymore. But, boy, do I ship fictional characters. 

Furikake Party Mix (Japanese Trail Mix) | RECIPE


Furikake Party mix is basically seaweed flavored trail mix. It has a saltiness that will keep you reaching for more. This is a recipe from a family friend and in the original it made 4 sheet pans of mix, but for the purpose of not feeding an army, I've halved it to make 2 sheet pans worth. If you want even less, just half the measurements I've written down below. Enjoy!

D R Y   I N G R E D I E N T S
  • 6oz Chex Cereal (1/2 reg box)
  • 1 can (8oz) dry roasted peanuts
  • 4 bags of microwave lightly salted popcorn, popped (7oz) 
  • 1 jar Furikake nori blend (make sure you don't buy the one with dried shrimp)
  • Arare (however much you want, just be sure to add in AFTER the mix has baked, as it will BURN)

S Y R U P   I N G R E D I E N T S
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar

M E T H O D 
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. (Gas Mark 1)
  2. Grease both your baking sheets, either with an oil spray or butter. 
  3. Pop your popcorn.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together your cereal, peanuts, and popcorn. 
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan heat up your butter, oil, syrup, and sugar until lightly boiling. Slowly pour your wety mixture into your dry ingredients, stirring gently.  Lay out your mix onto each baking sheet, topping each pan with 1/2 of the Furikake jar. 
  6. Baking on the middle rack of your oven for 1hr 15mins, stirring around the mix every 15 minutes or so.
  7.  Remove from oven once the mix has dried out, making sure to cool completely before mixing in your arare. 
Store in air tight containers. Will usually last about a month. 

Let me know if you try this! What's your go-to salty snack?

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