Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2020 Edition! (aka How Many Times Do I Talk About The Poppy War)

Welcome, to one of my favorite tags of the year!

I love this time of year, because I always enjoy reading the answers for this tag so much! And I of course have fun answering the questions too, which is very clear considering… how long this post is…

Today I’m here to talk about all the things about the books that I’ve read so far in 2020, whether they’re good or bad or The Poppy War! (I’d like you all to take a guess, right now, at the number of times I’ll mention something or someone related to that series.)

Click for BLM resources.

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GENERAL

  • Read books: 55
    • Reread books: 3
    • Comics: 13
    • Poetry: 3
    • Graphic novels: 2
  • Average rating: 3.29
  • Average rating without rereads: 3.20

I’m surprised by how little I’ve reread so far this year, but I know I’m rereading at least 15 books sometime later this year so… that’s a bit awkward. But last year my average rating (without rereads) was 3.87, and this year I’ve been more critical with my ratings and also have just disliked more books!!

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1. best book you’ve read so far

The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1)I know you can’t see me, but imagine that I’m burying my face in my hands about how predictable my answer for this is going to be…

The best book I’ve read this year is The Poppy War.

I’ve talked about this book a lot without really mentioning what it’s about (though I’m pretty sure most people have read it since I was late to the hype train), but instead of telling you in this blog post, I’m just going to direct you to my Goodreads review that gushes about how much of a masterpiece I thought it to be. It’s probably my favorite review that I wrote this year, and NOT just because of the opener!!

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2. best sequel you’ve read so far

The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War, #2)I’ve read 3 sequels this year, which actually is a bit of the shock considering how bad I am at continuing series. But one was a disappointment, one was meh, and one was The Dragon Republic, the sequel to The Poppy War. I refuse to say that as an official answer for this, even though it was amazing and everything I wanted, because the amount of times I’ll mention anything TPW-related in this post is downright embarrassing…

But also, The Dragon Republic!

(I thought this was actually slightly better than the first book, especially in terms of exploring character dynamics and other themes, but I’m just attached to TPW more. It’s because of Rin I love Rin.)

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3. new release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Felix Ever After  Clap When You Land  You Deserve Each Other

  • Felix Ever After: I am so, so excited for this book. The way I’ve seen so many friends read this and have heard only the most glowing things about this book is just amazing. I have a feeling I’m going to fall in love with it, especially from some quotes I’ve already seen! And perhaps… this will be a love triangle I don’t hate?
  • Clap When You Land: I’ve loved all of Elizabeth’s Acevedo’s books that I’ve read, and I have no doubt that I will love this one as well. I just know that the inside is going to be as beautiful as the cover and the patterned hardcover design, and also! Sapphics!! Elizabeth is giving us everything!!!
  • You Deserve Each Other: [zooms in on me burying my face in my hands again] YES I know, who would’ve ever thought I’d have a white cishet adult romance on my TBR. I am ashamed, but also not really because it’s apparently very funny (I’m sad and need the serotonin right now), and so many of my critical reader friends adored this!

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4. most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I’m just going to go ahead and list more than one because there are just so many good books coming out and I have no impulse control! A post of all my most anticipated releases will be going up next month though.

The Burning God (The Poppy War, #3)  These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)  The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1)

  • The Burning God: This is the last book in the Poppy Wars trilogy, which comes out on my birthday, and!!! I’m so excited but scared!!!! I think I’ll be satisfied with however it ends, because I trust RF Kuang with my life, but I am still… terrified.
  • These Violent Delights: Yet another book releasing on my birthday, because the Asian book gods gave me all my rights this year! This is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in Shanghai, and it has yearning and stabbing and [inhales] I need it.
  • The Bone Shard Daughter: Asian ownvoices fantasy with sapphics… this is literally the only thing I ever want in life. And I feel like the blurb might be hinting at some dark magic, and dark + Asian + sapphics = my exact taste in books.

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5. biggest disappointment

Like a Love StoryLast year I almost didn’t have an answer for this one, and this year… I have too many to choose from…

I think I’ll have to go with Like a Love Story, because this was a book I fully expected to rate 5 stars and call a new favorite. Pretty much everyone I know is in love with this book, and I rated it 2 stars! I found two of the protagonists unlikeable in an irritating way that made my reading experience miserable, and there were just a lot of weird things going on in the book that made me uncomfortable.

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6. biggest surprise

You Should See Me in a CrownYou Should See Me in a Crown was a surprise to me, because the entire time I was reading it, I thought it would be a 3-star read for me. Which is a good rating! But when I was reading the last 50 pages, I was just like, “Wow, I actually love this… so much more than I thought?” I guess it’s one of those books that subtly creep up on you, and I’m still so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

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7. favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Rebecca F. Kuang (@kuangrf) | TwitterI’m so sorry but I physically cannot say anyone else but RF Kuang!!! She wrote The Poppy War when she was nineteen years old… she’s already pursuing a second master’s degree at Oxford after going to Cambridge and she’s only twenty-four… I just!! am overwhelmed by how brilliant she is!!! AND a bonus is that she’s really funny on Twitter.

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8. newest fictional crush

Suki | Avatar Wiki | FandomI don’t really get fictional crushes, but I’ll say Suki from Avatar: The Last Airbender because I’m strangely very attached to her for literally no reason… she just makes me smile I don’t know!! But I’d date her so Sokka can date Zuko. If you’re a Zutara stan… shh.

(Yes ATLA’s a TV show, but I read one of the comics so this counts!! Let me have this!!!)

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9. newest favorite character

The Poppy War (Perang Opium) – hanabooktopiaI’m absolutely saying Rin from The Poppy War for this one. Her character is just so brilliantly written, and I am in absolute love with her characterization and her arc and her growth. She’s so ambitious and the way she slowly descends into villainy

(I know certain friends of mine will be like “May you should have put Rin as your fictional crush” and LISTEN I love her a lot and she… can step on me… but also she is a mass murderer in a series that is based on real life historical events so I’ll just call her a favorite character okay.)

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10. book that made you cry

Like a Love StoryI “cried” over Like a Love Story. Not because the book was good, because it was not, but because I got emotional about queer activism and history and how America might look very different for people like me had these movements not happened in the past. (I say “cried” in quotation marks, because it was like me shedding tears for maybe 10 seconds.)

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11. book that made you happy

In Other LandsIn Other Lands is one of the funniest books I’ve read, because the main character just has such clever humor and sarcasm and it’s perfect! I read it in February, which was my worst mental health month of the year, and I included it in this rec post of books to read when you’re sad, and it definitely cheered me up. I feel like it’s a very chaotic story? But it’s just so much fun!!

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12. most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Clap When You LandGirl, Serpent, ThornCover-wise, Girl, Serpent, Thorn is so pretty!! I don’t usually care for snakes (not even book snake), but I think this cover just looks really gorgeous, specifically with its colors. I don’t know, the shades of the pink and the green are just soothing to me!

Clap When You Land has such a pretty cover too, but I’m mainly in love with it for its hardcover design!! I just bought this so my copy hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ve seen pictures of the hardcover design that has a pattern of tropical tree leaves and it’s gorgeous.

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13. what books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Besides the books new releases that I haven’t read yet but need to…

The Starless Sea  The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)  The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, #4)

  • The Starless Sea: I got this for Christmas last year, and I attempted to read it first thing in January, but… I had to put it down. I just couldn’t get through the writing, so I’m waiting for the right moment to pick it back up again because I just know it’s going to be a new favorite!!
  • The Fifth Season: This was another book I read a bit of before having to put down (though I made it further in this one). It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I couldn’t stop reading. So I just need to pick it back up this summer, because what I read was already so good!
  • The Tyrant’s Tomb: This is the ONLY Rick Riordan series book I haven’t read, and I need to get on it!! I don’t really care too much for this series (it’s my least favorite out of all his series), but after the ending of the previous book… (I’m mad though because I’m the #1 hold on Overdrive for it but my library’s license for it has expired so they just. lost the book???)

*I was going to put Steel Crow Saga on this list, but it’s been brought to light that the author has harassed several women of color. Since I’ve talked about it a lot in previous posts, I wanted to make a statement here so that people can take it off their TBRs accordingly and not support his works moving forward, because I will not be supporting him either.

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14. favorite book community member

I honestly don’t know if I can pick one person! Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books is a book blogger I look up to and admire so so much, and my mind instantly goes to her any time I have to pick a favorite, but there are just so many people I love. I guess I’ll also give a shoutout to May @ My 1st Chapter because our friendship means a lot to me and I [pukes] love her a lot.

Questions if you want them!

1. best book you’ve read so far
2. best sequel you’ve read so far
3. new release you haven’t read yet but want to
4. most anticipated release for the second half of the year
5. biggest disappointment
6. biggest surprise
7. favorite new author (debut or new to you)
8. newest fictional crush
9. newest favorite character
10. book that made you cry
11. book that made you happy
12. most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
13. what books do you need to read by the end of the year?
14. favorite book community member


shall we chat

have you done this tag yet, or are you planning to? what’s your best book of the year so far? what’s a book that’s made you cry? and how many times did you guess i was going to say something TPW-related??

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