How are we in the middle of 2020 already? It’s simultaneously been the longest and the shortest year, and the time distortion is really throwing me off. However, I want to shift the focus from this mind-boggling fact and celebrate the highs and lows of the first half of the year with you all today. I challenged myself to pick a different book for each of the questions, changed some of the wordings and added one at the beginning to round it out to 15. I really hope you like my answers to the mid-year book freak out tag and find some interesting books to add to your TBR in 2020!
Reading Progress in 2020
GR challenge: 46/50 books
Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve been reading a lot more than I normally would and I’m very close to achieving my goal for the year. I’m very happy to see the number of books by Asian, especially South Asian, authors I’ve read this year! I hope to continue this momentum into the rest of the year but not pressure myself by raising my GR challenge.
✨Related: 2020 Reading Challenges to Level Up Your Reading
Best book so far in 2020
A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat
This is a criminally underrated middle grade fantasy that has stolen my heart and I cannot stop talking about it! I hate that it’s getting so little hype because it came out just as most countries went into lockdown and I really wish more people would pick it up. This is set in a Thai-inspired world with a plot loosely based on Les Misérables and is a truly magnificent book that I would recommend to readers of all ages.
Best sequel so far in 2020
Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa
To be honest, this book made me cry and wrenched my heart out with that ending! It was action-packed, emotional and fulfilled all of my expectations. Now that the series is complete, there’s no excuse not to have read Shadow of the Fox series by Julie Kagawa yet.
✨Related: Review of Night of the Dragon (spoiler-free for the 3rd book)
2020 new release you haven’t read yet
Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena
I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book ever since I saw that gorgeous cover! I have heard nothing but good things from 3 of my most trusted desi blogger friends (Charvi, Fanna and Krisha), so it has shot to the top of my TBR pile. I also had the pleasure of seeing the author speak on a few online panels and her approach to world-building has made me even more excited to get to this on a priority basis.
Most anticipated release for the 2nd half of 2020
The Burning God by R. F. Kuang
If you didn’t expect this book to be my answer, I don’t think you know me at all. The Dragon Republic was my favourite book of 2019 (along with Jade War by Fonda Lee) and I can’t wait to finally witness how this epic series concludes. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC and it is taking all of my willpower not to drop everything and read it in one sitting, which is my preferred way to consume any book written by R. F. Kuang.
Infinity Son by Adam Silvera
This was my first Adam Silvera book and I had a lot of high expectations as he’s a well-known YA author. However, while I liked the characters and the representation, the plot was a poor vehicle that didn’t deeply explore the themes of this book. I found it to have quite a few technical flaws, but I nonetheless want to check out the author’s other works.
✨Related: Review of Infinity Son (3 stars)
Circe by Madeline Miller
I must admit I bought this book solely because of its gorgeous cover back when I used to base my decisions on external factors like that. This book has got a lot of hype and I generally find such books disappointing because they raise my expectations sky-high. However, Circe, with its combination of gorgeous prose and the detailed character study of a woman in a patriarchal world, won me over.
Favourite new author
As someone who reads a ton of novels, I don’t naturally gravitate towards shorter fiction because they inevitably leave me wanting more, especially if I love them. However, The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water had a wonderful story arc that single-handedly changed my mind. While I definitely want more from this world, I loved how much detail was woven into an intricate plot full of unexpected twists and urgently need to read more of Zen Cho’s works.
Newest favourite OTP
Laia and Elias from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
I changed the question for this because I have outgrown the idea of fictional crushes at this point. Anyone who’s read the Ember series will surely agree with me on this one. Sabaa is an expert at torturing her characters, so I’m not hopeful for a happy ending but desperately want it for these two!
Newest favourite character
Shuos Jedao from Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
While I only understood half of the world-building in this mind-bending sci-fi book, Shuos Jedao is the kind of mysterious anti-hero character that I personally enjoy. He’s a loose cannon, causing chaos wherever he goes and always two steps ahead of his enemies. I never got a grip on his intentions and the fact that he keeps everyone guessing is precisely why I love characters like him.
Book that made you cry
The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty
Very few books have the power to make me shed actual tears and you can be sure I will rate such a book 5 stars! There is a particular scene towards the end of The Empire of Gold which shattered my heart completely and haunts me even now. This was a fitting series finale to a thoroughly entertaining adult fantasy trilogy and another one I highly recommend!
✨Related: Review of The Empire of Gold (spoiler-free for the 3rd book)
Book that made you happy
Game of Stars by Sayantani DasGupta
Middle grade books never fail to make me happy and Game of Stars was no exception. I was really impressed with how it challenged issues like colourism in the desi community. I also loved the feeling of being on an adventure again, solving riddles and outwitting dangerous creatures in another dimension.
Most beautiful book purchased so far in 2020
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
Thanks to the situation in my country, I have only bought one physical book in 2020 so far, so this was a no-brainer. I received an e-ARC as I was on the street team for Of Curses and Kisses and wanted to add it to my permanent collection because of how good it was. This illustrated cover is superb and it looks even more stunning in person!
Book you need to read by the end of 2020
Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
I am deeply ashamed to call myself a Roshani Chokshi stan without having read this book yet. Unfortunately, I don’t want to risk purchasing a physical copy now and I can’t get it on Kindle until its UK release, so I’m being forced to wait. However, you can bet that I’ll read it as soon as I have a copy in my hands.
Favourite book community member
Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea
It’s very hard for me to pick favourites, but since I can’t nominate Shealea this year for the book blogger awards, I just had to mention her here. Even though she’s taken time off blogging, she’s still an active member of the book community through her Twitter and Instagram. I also appreciate her dedication to getting diverse titles for Caffeine Book Tours and I’m excited to see all of the amazing titles she has in store for us!
I’m tagging some of my favourite bloggers to do this –
This is a very popular tag that always pops up around this time of the year. If you haven’t been tagged by anyone but want to do it, please consider yourself tagged by me. Go forth and freak out, dear readers!
How has 2020 been so far in terms of reading? How are you coping with everything that’s been going on? Have you done the book freak out tag in the previous years? Let me know in the comments section below. Have a stellar weekend, readers from Earth!