The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag, 2020 edition

I can’t believe 2020 is halfway over. To celebrate a solid six months of reading, and the books that have helped get me through a ROUGH first half of the year, I’m participating in the Mid Year Book Freakout Tag for the first time! If you haven’t participated yet, please feel free to post your answers to this tag too!

1. Best book you’ve read in 2020 so far:

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. This book about a young person with a fractured sense of self was absolutely incredible. I loved the way this book blended psychological introspection with Igbo folklore, and the lyrical prose really moved me too.

2. Best sequel:

I haven’t read any sequels in 2020 yet, but I do hope to get to Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery – sequel to Who Is Vera Kelly? – by the end of the year.

3. New release you haven’t read yet but really want to:

A Burning by Megha Majumdar, Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang, and Death in Her Hands by Otessa Moshfegh. I’ve heard excellent things about the first three novels, and although I haven’t heard much about Death in Her Hands yet, I love Otessa Moshfegh and have high hopes for her latest novel.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

I have way too many, so I’m “narrowing it down” to the following six:

  1. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi. After reading Freshwater (AKA the best book I read in 2020), I am a huge Akwaeke Emezi fan! I can’t wait to read their next novel.
  2. Memorial by Bryan Washington. I really liked Washington’s Lot, so I’m excited to read more of his work!
  3. Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos. I don’t read very much mystery, but this one sounds really good!
  4. Luster by Raven Leilani. The Goodreads blurb has me sold. Bonus points for positive reviews that compared the Leilani’s writing to that of Gillian Flynn (although Leilani is an ownvoices Black author, and her writing likely holds its own without the comparison to white authors).
  5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwaab. This is another novel where the Goodreads blurb has me sold. I’ve heard so much praise for V.E. Schwaab and would love to finally read her this year.
  6. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. I have been awaiting this book’s release for like five years now. I am so freaking excited that it’s finally happening!!

5. Biggest disappointment:

Dominicana by Angie Cruz. Part of the reason why I was so disappointed by this novel was because I had pretty high hopes going into it. Based on the Goodreads blurb, I thought that it would be one of my favorite WP longlist reads. Instead it was trope-y with underdeveloped characters.

6. Biggest Surprise:

Circe (by Madeline Miller) surprised me because I didn’t think of myself as a “mythology person” prior to this novel, but it was so compelling that now I kind of am. Red at the Bone (by Jacqueline Woodson) surprised me because I didn’t expect much from such a short (<200 page) novel, but it turned out to have more character development and commentary than some 500+ page novels I’ve read.

7. Favorite new author:

Akwaeke Emezi and Leesa Cross-Smith. Neither are 2020 debut authors, but they are both new to me and I’m looking forwarding to reading more of their works!

8. Newest favorite character:

Stubborn Archivist wasn’t a perfect read for me, but I really admired and felt for the novel’s protagonist! I’ll definitely read more of Rodrigues-Fowler’s work in the future, and her compelling characters are part of the reason why.

9. A Book that made you cry:

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney, How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee, and My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. There were other books that made me tear up or cry a little bit, but these three wrecked me to the point that I had to stop reading because I was getting so emotional.

10. A Book that made you happy:

So We Can Glow by Leesa Cross-Smith. Although not all the stories in this collection are happy, there is so much hope, joy, and love in this book about female obsession and desire.

11. Favorite book-to-film adaptation.

Definitely Hulu’s adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The show was heavy-handed with the drama at times, but I still thought it was well done. I especially appreciated that the producers/writers made Mia and Pearl black, and another one of the MC’s gay, because it added valuable commentary.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought or read:

Hamnet or Hex. Both of these book covers look simple at first glance, but are actually quite intricate when you take a closer look. Plus, I’m a sucker for botanical designs.

13. book you want to read by the end of the year:

THERE ARE SO MANY!!! Ideally I would get to everything that I listed for questions #3 and #4 by the end of this year, although I don’t know if that’s realistic. In addition to those ten books, I also want to read How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, We Want Our Bodies Back by Jessica Care Moore, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe, and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.

Would You Rather Book Tag

Thank you to Gilana for tagging me in this book tag – it looks like so much fun! Gil is a wonderful book blogger who reviews a variety of genres, and has recently been reading through the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist. I definitely recommend checking out her blog!

The rules:

  1. Answer the questions given to you by your nominator.
  2. Make up your own questions and tag others.

My answers to gil’s questions:

1. Would you rather only read mass market paperbacks or only read stiff, non-floppy paperbacks?

Tough choice, but I’ll go with non-floppy paperbacks. Mass-market paperbacks tend to have smaller print, which strains my rapidly declining eyes. Also, many new contemporary and literary fiction books are only available as non-floppy paperbacks. If I could only read mass-market paperbacks, I would miss out on some great new books!

2. Would you rather have your favourite character be a terrible person in real life or your favourite author be horrible in real life?

Have my favorite character be a terrible person in real-life. Like Gil said, some of my favorite characters are unlikable anyway, so it wouldn’t be shocking (or a problem for me) if I met them in real life and they were awful.

3. Would you rather meet your favourite booktubers or meet your favourite book blogger?

I don’t do BookTube, so definitely meet my favorite book blogger. The challenge here would be picking just ONE favorite book blogger, because there are many that I would love the opportunity to chat with in real life!

4. Would you rather have to dog-ear your pages or have to write on them?

I am a chaotic monster and do both of these things already. I dog-ear pages mainly out of habit; I’ve just done it that way since I was a kid. I write on pages intentionally because it helps me engage with the book more, and process/internalize it better. So if I could only do one of these blasphemous things, it would be writing on book pages.

5. Would you rather have a damaged book delivered to you every time or the wrong book to be delivered to you every time (the second or third time you may get the right one)?

This is a tough choice because I could potentially be okay with both of these. But I’ll pick having a damaged book delivered every time (as long as the damage doesn’t interfere with my ability to read the book). Having the wrong book delivered would eventually get on my nerves, especially if I wanted the book for a reading challenge with a deadline (like reading through the WP longlist before the winner announcement) or a book club.

6. Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?

Librarian! If I ever decided to (somewhat radically) change career paths, I would seriously consider a degree in library sciences.

7. Would you rather have your favourite character die in the end or have your favourite character not complete their mission/life goal?

Have my favorite character not complete their mission/life goal. I could see myself getting really into a book where a character fails to complete their mission, but realizes that the journey was still worth it, and that their inherent value as a human being is not defined by their successes or failures. Or a book where a character fails at what they thought their mission was, only to realize that they were prioritizing the wrong things in life. It’s cheesy, but it could be done really well!

8. Would you rather live in a library in space or a live in a library under the sea?

I love Gil’s idea of an underwater city in a sealed vessel, so library under the sea!

9. Would you rather not be able to read any books from your favourite author or have them not publish anything again?

Copying Gil’s answer again: have them never publish anything again, so that way I could at least read and re-read their previous works.

10. Would you rather read everything ever published (even the worst books) or read only one book a year?

I know that it would be impossible to read everything ever published, and that it would entail a lot of books that aren’t good matches for me. But I absolutely love reading and can’t imagine my life without it as a constant…so I would TRY to read everything ever published.

my questions:

  1. Would you rather read an amazing book with a disappointing ending, or a book that is lackluster but gets really good at the end?
  2. Would you rather read only books from your favorite authors, or only books from new authors?
  3. Would you rather write a book (and it could be about anything), or have somebody write a book based on you?
  4. Would you rather read books only as ebooks for the rest of your life, or only listen to them as audiobooks?
  5. Would you rather read only books from series, or read whatever you want EXCEPT that you’d never be able to finish a series?
  6. Would you rather read on the beach or in a cozy cabin in the snow?
  7. Would you rather read in public a book that makes you laugh hysterically or one that makes you ugly cry?
  8. Would you rather read your favorite book out loud to someone else, or listen to a friend read their favorite book out loud to you?
  9. Would you rather be transported to the world of your favorite fantasy/sci-fi novel, or the world of your favorite historical fiction novel?
  10. Would you rather perform in a Shakespeare play, or write a re-telling/re-imagination of one?

I tag…

  • Nirmala @ Red Lips & Bibliomaniacs
  • Rose @ Novels & Teacups
  • Beth @ Beth’s Bookish Backpacking
  • Fatma @ The Book Place
  • Neriman @ Reading Under The Olive Tree
  • Anybody else who wants to do this!!

If you were tagged and can’t or don’t want to do this, please don’t feel pressured to participate. Also, this tag is open to anybody who wants to participate! If you do post your answers to this, please tag me or let me know in the comments so I can read your answers! 🙂

Sunshine Blogger Award #2

Thank you to Sarah for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award (over a month ago, but I’ve been behind on blogging lately). Sarah is an avid reader who talks about books spanning diverse genres. One of my favorite reads this year was Red, White & Royal Blue – a book that I first heard about through Sarah’s blog!

Rules of the award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated them.
  • Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  • Notify your nominees and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post.

Sarah’s questions (and my answers):

  1. Do you listen to any podcasts? If so, what are your favorites? YES, I love podcasts! My top two favorites are Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (a funny news-based quiz show from NPR) and By The Book (where hosts Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer live by self-help books and reflect on whether or not they actually helped).
  2. Do you genre hop when you read or do you tend to stick to the same genres? I try to genre hop!
  3. What’s the best movie you’ve watched so far this year? I have only watched like two movies this year, but I really enjoyed Always Be My Maybe!
  4. 2019 release you’re most excited about reading? Hmmmm…maybe Frankly in Love by David Yoon.
  5. What’s your favorite way to treat yourself? Once a week or so, I like to treat myself by getting a fancy coffee (such as a malted cold brew or latte) before work. Once a month or so, I like to get my nails done. And I try to sleep in a bit on weekends.
  6. Describe your ideal home in as much or as little detail as you’d like! Big kitchen with lots of counter space; enough room for four cats.
  7. Favorite snack? So…the snacks I most commonly eat are: toast, vanilla oat milk, olives, and cheese. But my absolute favorite snacks are the ones that I don’t actually buy (because I know that it would be disastrous for my health to have them in my apartment). Those are hot cheetos, dark chocolate cookie butter cups, white cheddar popcorn, and dried mangos (If you are thinking “but dried mangos are healthy” – not the way that I eat them).
  8. What’s your favorite kind of weather? I love a sunny, crisp day in the 40’s or 50’s (Fahrenheit).
  9. Favorite book you read as a child? I absolutely loved Harry Potter, and read certain books in the series over 5 times.
  10. What’s your favorite thing about yourself? My favorite thing about myself is that I am kind (or at least try really hard to be as much as possible).
  11. Are you a pumpkin person? In desserts – yes. In my coffee – absolutely not.

My questions for you:

  1. Do you find it easy to advocate for yourself?
  2. Do you consider yourself to be a risk-taker?
  3. What do you want to do before the end of 2019?
  4. Do you enjoy the winter holiday season? Why or why not?
  5. If you could pick up any new hobby or habit in 2020 (and it would definitely stick) – what would you choose?
  6. What is your favorite dessert?
  7. Describe a time when you faced a fear.
  8. Do you prefer text, phone calls, emails, or face-to-face communication? Or something else?
  9. Are you easily embarrassed? What types of situations embarrass you?
  10. How do you think you have changed over the past five years?
  11. What is your favorite quote?

Tagging:

Okay, so I know this is kind of a cop-out…but I nominate anybody who is reading this and wants to participate! If you decide to participate, please let me know so I can see your answers! Or, if you want to participate but don’t want to publish your answers as a post – let me know some of your answers in the comments!

Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you to Mathew at Blog of the Wolf Boy for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Mathew consistently posts interesting and thought-provoking content, including poetry and motivational writing. Recently, he posted a letter from the perspective from his 13-year-old self to his present-day self; it was really moving!

The rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her.
  • Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.

The questions (complete-the-sentence style):

  1. I love it when…a challenging bake turns out well!
  2. If I could, I would…move into a completely different field of work in the next 1-3 years.
  3. Not too many people know that…I love dancing, and I met my (soon-to-be) husband through swing dancing!
  4. What really gets to my nerves…is when people lack awareness of their surroundings in public spaces, especially public transit.
  5. I can’t comprehend why…people still listen to Fox News.
  6. My fantasy job would be…something creative.
  7. If I were a color, I’d be…a purplish-blue shade.
  8. Sometimes when I’m by myself…I think about what my life would be like if I had made completely different choices earlier on.
  9. This may sound crazy but…here’s my number, so call me maybe. Just kidding! I don’t know how to answer this.
  10. The funniest thing about me…(according to my partner) is the way that I talk to our cats. I use a lot of baby-talk, but then other times I try to lecture them earnestly as though they are humans.
  11. It doesn’t really matter if…people follow a rigid “path” to their career or lifestyle (or what career or lifestyle people have, as long as they are not hurting anyone).

Questions for the next round:

  1. What food could you not live without?
  2. How frequently do you remember your dreams?
  3. Do you prefer warmer or cooler weather?
  4. What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
  5. What grosses you out?
  6. What book has influenced you the most, and how?
  7. Do you consider yourself a creative person? Why or why not?
  8. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
  9. Describe a quirky trait about yourself!
  10. What relaxes you when you’re feeling tense or stressed out?
  11. What is your favorite game?

Nominees:

I am breaking the “rules” of this award and nominating anybody who wants to participate! Or if you don’t want to do a full post, feel free to share your answers with me in the comments!

Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you so much to Reasons2Stay for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award! According to their post:

“The award is a way that we recognize and support each other as bloggers, and especially to show that we appreciate how much time, work, energy, and effort goes into producing and maintaining a high-quality blog. It is a humbling experience to be recognized from my fellow blogger.”


The rules of the award:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select other bloggers to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How my blog started:

I started reading as a hobby near the end of 2018, and the first book that I read (Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang) inspired me to bake a little cake. I toyed with the idea of making a combination baking/reading blog after that, and – with a lot of encouragement from my fiancĂ© – I started this blog. After engaging with other bloggers, my blog has expanded a bit beyond just “bakes inspired by books,” and I’m excited to see how it will continue to change over time!

Advice for new bloggers:

1. Be true to yourself! Your blog is your place to express yourself. Write in your voice, about the things that you want to write about. Not only does it feel good to express yourself earnestly, but you will also end up engaging with people in a more genuine way.

2. Engage with other people/blogs! The more you put in, the more you get out. Personally, I find the experience of blogging to be MUCH more satisfying when I’m interacting and making positive connections with other bloggers. Read more than you post, and comment on other blog posts to build relationships with other bloggers. 🙂

My nominations:

  • Ashley Leia (I know that you don’t do tags, and you have posted before about how your blog got started…but I still wanted to acknowledge your blog here!)
  • Alphe
  • Jan M. Flynn
  • Naty
  • and anyone else who wants to share their story and advice!!!

Mystery Blogger Award #2

Thank you to Sarah for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! Sarah writes amazing book reviews – her recent review of Red, White & Royal Blue moved me to add the book to my TBR priority list!

The rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Answer the 5 questions you were asked
  6. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  7. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  8. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  9. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  10. Share a link to your best post(s)

Q&A:

  1. What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently? Always Be My Maybe on Netflix. (It is also the *only* movie I’ve seen recently, but I genuinely thought it was good).
  2. How often do you make music playlists? Probably once a month – I usually make playlists for road trips, new workout routines, or parties.
  3. What’s the last book you were gifted? Rising Strong by Brene Brown.
  4. What are you looking forward to right now? Life in general! A lot of good changes have happened recently (new job, new city, new adventures) and everything is very exciting right now!
  5. [weird question] If you could switch places with one with one actor in any scene in any movie/TV show, which would it be? Hmmmmmmm. Maybe Rachel Bloom in the masquerade scene in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Because everyone is dressed up so nicely and she gets to dance with Scott Michael Foster!

Three things about me:

  1. I recently moved to a big city and discovered my love of public transit! And reading on public transit!
  2. I am a vegetarian.
  3. I am that stereotype/cliché type of person who drinks cold brew coffee in all types of weather.

My nominees:

Questions for nominees:

  1. What books, movies, and/or TV shows have influenced the person you are today?
  2. What current trends in pop-culture do you love? Which ones do you dislike?
  3. What strange food combinations do you enjoy?
  4. Do you collect anything? If so, what?
  5. [weird question] If you had to give up one hygiene habit for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?

My best posts:

I’m not sure which posts are my best, but here are my three most recent!

Mystery Blogger Award

Thanks to Reasons2Stay for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! Reasons2Stay writes a refreshingly honest personal blog, which includes great food for thought and daily doses of positivity.

How the Mystery Blogger Award works:

-List the rules.
-Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
-Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
-You have to nominate others
-Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
-Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice

Three things about myself:

  1. I am in the process of a major move (currently ~800 miles into a ~1000 mile road trip)!
  2. I recently started doing yoga to help with anxiety and insomnia, but it has also made me stronger and more flexible.
  3. I’m indecisive by nature, so I’m having a difficult time choosing a third fact!

Q&A:

  1. How long have you been in your blogging journey? Since December 2018.
  2. Do you like comics, if you do which one is your favorite? I love PhD comics!
  3. Do you think we are alone in the universe? Probably not! The universe is vast, so the possibilities for life beyond Earth (including life forms that we humans wouldn’t necessarily recognize as “life”) are also vast.
  4. Shower or bath? Shower all the way.
  5. London or Paris? Can I pick both?! I haven’t been to either, but would happily visit either or both.

My nominations:

I will nominate the following bloggers for the Mystery Blogger Award 🙂

Questions for my nominees:

  1. What book, movie, or TV show has changed your life?
  2. What combination of three fictional characters do you think describes yourself?
  3. Have you ever overcome a major fear? How did you do it?
  4. What has been the best day of 2019 for you so far? Why?
  5. What is your guilty pleasure?