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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (4)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine
- Maryland (1)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (1)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (6)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas (1)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (3)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming (1)
- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


6 / 25 books. 24% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


33 / 50 books. 66% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Friday, June 25, 2021

The Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag—2021 Version


I saw this tag on Nicole's blog, BookWyrm Knits, and thought it looked like a fun way to assess where I am in my reading now that we're just about halfway through 2021.  I'm not sure who originally created this tag—if it was you or you know who it was, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.  At any rate, here's how Nicole did it, so I'm going to follow her format:

Total Books Read in 2021 So Far

98

My goal is to read 200 books this year, so I'm right on track.  Goodreads says I'm two books ahead of schedule.  Go, me!

Best Book You Read in 2021 So Far


I'm going to go with The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustain.  It's a historical novel about two young women living on the Natchez Trace in Mississippi.  Their hardscrabble lives entwine because of a murder, which creates an unlikely bond between them.  The setting and characters in this book are so well drawn that I found myself really sinking into the story and caring deeply about what happened to the two main characters.  This assured debut was an A read for me, one of only a few books I've truly loved this year.

Best Sequel You've Read in 2021 So Far


I love reading series!  I'm always in the middle of a bunch of them, so I've read a number of sequels this year.  I think my favorite so far is The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny.  The 11th book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, it's a mystery about a shocking discovery searchers find in the woods while looking for a missing boy.  

New Release(s) You Haven't Read But Want To  

I've talked a lot about new releases this year in my Top Ten Tuesday posts.  You can check out this list, this one, and this one to see which I've been most excited about.  I'll be listing even more new releases I want to read in my next TTT post, so look for that next week.  In the meantime, here are the top three 2021 releases from the first half of the year that I haven't read yet but am looking forward to:


The Removed by Brandon Hobson—This already-released novel focuses on a Cherokee family and the 15-year-old tragedy that still haunts them.  


Survive the Night by Riley Sager (available June 29, 2021)—The wait is almost over for this one, Sager's newest thriller.  It's about a ride share gone horribly wrong.


Eat Your Heart Out by Kelly DeVos (available June 29, 2021)—I'm not huge on zombie novels, but this YA one just sounds like tons of fun.  It's about a weight loss camp that is overrun by the creatures and the intrepid campers who must stop them.

Most Anticipated Release(s) for the Second Half of the Year

This is actually the exact topic for next week's Top Ten Tuesday post.  Here are the top three I'm most excited about, although I've already read one of them.


Bluebird by Sharon Cameron (available October 5, 2021)—I loved this exciting WWII novel about a young woman who holds the key to a devastating secret, one that many people would kill to have.  I can't wait for Bluebird to finally be out in the world.  It's an excellent read!


Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (September 14, 2021)—Lots of readers are chomping at the bit for this new release.  It's about a group of siblings who are dealing with the disappearance of their mother, possibly at the hands of their father.


Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney (available September 7, 2021)—This domestic thriller revolves around a couple celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary who win a weekend away in Scotland.  The troubled union needs some TLC, but the getaway is not all it seems...

Biggest Disappointment


After Alice Fell by Kim Taylor Blakemore—I was really looking forward to this historical novel about a woman who is trying to get to the bottom of her sister's mysterious death at an insane asylum.  The premise promised great things.  Unfortunately, the story moves at a glacial pace and the characters are off-putting and unlikable.

Biggest Surprise


The Captive Kingdom by Jennifer A. Nielsen—I binge-read this middle-grade series because the latest book in the series was nominated in an awards competition I was helping to judge.  While The False Prince was a decent read, the next two books really dragged for me.  Needless to say, I really wasn't looking forward to reading the newest installment.  To my great surprise and delight, The Captive Kingdom was a rollicking adventure story that breathed new life into the series.  I ended up enjoying it very much.

Favorite New Author




I've read a lot of new authors this year, so this is a toughie.  Because I've now read and enjoyed two books by both of these ladies, assuring that they are not one-hit wonders, I'm going to go with Sarah Stewart Taylor and Tessa Wegert.  Both write twisty, atmospheric police procedurals.

Newest Favorite Character


Hmmm...the only one that is really coming to mind is Laurent Lepage, the 9-year-old boy who goes missing in The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny.  He's an imaginative, boy-who-cries-wolf kind of child, one whom no one takes seriously.  It's only when it's too late that his neighbors realize just how important he really was to their community.  Unfortunately, Laurent will not be a recurring character.

Book(s) That Made You Happy

I've tried to read happier books this year since I tend to gravitate toward darker, more serious reads.  Two of these are classics that I've read several times but decided to revisit in 2021.  The other is a celebrity memoir that just made me smile.  I listened to all of them on audio and the delightful narrations definitely added to the pleasurable reading/listening experience.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


The Answer Is... by Alex Trebek

Book(s) That Made You Cry

Interestingly, all the audiobooks above have sad parts that made me a little teary.

Favorite Review You Have Written This Year


Uhhh...I don't really have favorite reviews.  According to Blogger stats, my review of A Distant Grave by Sarah Stewart Taylor has been my most popular review this year.

Most Beautiful Book You Have Gotten This Year


I don't really read graphic novels or other illustrated books.  As far as cover art goes, though, I think The Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley stands out since it's so unique and eye-catching.  I enjoyed the story as well.

What Books Do You Need to Read By Year's End?

I don't need to read anything, although I do want to read 102 more books to meet my goal for the year.  As far as a reading plan goes, I don't really have one.  I'm just choosing whatever looks good and keeping my fingers crossed that they pan out (a method that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't).  I also need to catch up on writing reviews since I'm woefully behind.  Since I've been rocking my reading challenges this year, I really want to make sure I finish all of them.

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I'm not into tagging people, but if you want to do this one, please do!  I'd love to read your answers.  How are you doing on your 2021 reading so far?  What reading/blogging goals would you like to accomplish before 2022?   

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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
Glass Houses by Louise Penny



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