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Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: The Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag


Even though I try to keep my Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl) posts positive, I'm going to start this one by complaining about the heat because, WOW! Here in the Phoenix area, we're heading into the twelfth day in a row of temperatures above 115 degrees. Yes, really. It's awful. The air conditioning in my house is having trouble keeping up and the water in my backyard swimming pool is as warm as a bath. Ugh. With all the extreme heat warnings being sounded, it's clearly safest for me to stay home ( with a/c blasting and ceiling fans whirling) and read. Fine by me! I hope your local weather is less extreme than mine and that you're staying safe and cool this summer.

Like I mentioned, I'm going to give today's TTT prompt a wide berth since it feels too negative to me. (It even comes with a warning not to book bash!) The official topic is: Top Ten Most Recent Books I Did Not Finish (Feel free to tell us why if you want, but if you do, please be nice to the authors and don't tag them when you mention your post on social media!) Not every book is going to work for every reader, obviously, and that's okay. When I DNF one, it's usually because it has one or more of the following issues: a boring plot, characters I don't care about, clunky writing, or content that is too graphic/crude for me. 

In searching for an alternate list topic today, I decided to go with one I've seen lots of other book bloggers doing in recent weeks: The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag. I'm not sure with whom this meme originated (Anyone know?), but it's a fun way to look back at what you've read so far this year and what you still hope to accomplish before the year ends. 

Out of the 103 books I've read this year, here are...

1. The Best Book You've Read So Far in 2023:



I'd say it's a toss-up between these two. 

2. The Best Sequel of 2023 So Far?


I've binged a bunch of Kelley Armstrong's books this year (six and counting), but The Poisoner's Ring is the one that stands out in this category. Armstrong's Rip Through Time series is just incredibly fun so far.

3. The New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To:


4. The Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of 2023:


I'm reading this one right now and really enjoying it. It comes out on November 7.

5. Biggest Disappointment?


I usually really enjoy Megan Miranda's thrillers, but this one was a slog and peopled with characters I didn't care about to boot.

6. Biggest Surprise?


I don't read a lot of contemporary general fiction, but someone suggested this one for book club. I thought it might be a little silly, but it was actually quite charming. Also, funny, uplifting, and insightful. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.

7. Favorite New Author (Debut or New to You):


I really enjoyed Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney, so I'll definitely be checking out her other books.

8. Newest Fictional Crush?


Book boyfriends are not my thing, but my favorite fictional couple these days is Detective Casey Duncan and her common law husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton. They're the stars of the Rockton series by Kelley Armstrong. I started the books a few years ago, but I finished the series this year so I'm counting it here.

9. Newest Favorite Character(s):


Enola Holmes, Sherlock's crime-solving younger sister, is pretty delightful!

10. Book That Made You Cry?


What Stands in a Storm by Kim Cross is about a series of vicious tornadoes that wreaked havoc on Alabama and Mississippi in 2011. While the book describes a lot of horrifying situations, it also focuses on how people came together in the aftermath to help one another search for missing loved ones, mourn the dead, clean up devastated communities, and heal from trauma the storms wrought. Those stories definitely had me choking up.

That's it for my mid-year reading assessment. How would you answer these questions? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!  

64 comments:

  1. I need to get to that Harmon book! I have it, but haven't read it yet. I'm glad you loved it and it made one of your top books. Looks like a good reading year so far!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a great read! I hope you love it, too. I'm sure you will since you're already a big Harmon fan.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

      Delete
  2. Great alternative for today, Susan. I really like your responses. I have A Girl Called Samson on my TBR, and I think it is time I get to it. I am loving the Rip Through Time series as well and really want to read the Rockton books. I have started Safe Haven. Have a great week and I hope the weather breaks for you soon. Those temps would put my body into shock.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you like A GIRL CALLED SAMSON. It worked relaly well for me. The Rip Through Time series is so fan, isn't it? I also really like the Rockton series. It's a little grittier than my usual, but I enjoy the setting, the characters, the writing, everything.

      We did have a nice monsoon storm the other night with lots of rain. That was a nice change!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carla!

      Delete
  3. I hear SO many positive things about Amy's books, but haven't read one. Someday I'd like to though since I do think some of her books sound really interesting.

    ...stay cool! We are having some warmer weather in the Midwest now, but nothing like what you describe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've now read three of Harmon's books. I loved A GIRL CALLED SAMSON and WHERE THE LOST WANDER. I wasn't as impressed with THE UNKNOWN BELOVED. WHAT THE WIND KNOWS is the one I want to read next. I hope you like her books when you read them!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Rissi!

      Delete
  4. I think you just added five or six more books to my TBR list because of this post. ;D Enchanted Hill looks especially good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry/not sorry! Ha ha.

      Unfortunately, ENCHANTED HILL didn't quite meet my expectations. It's fine, just not as unique/compelling as I wanted it to be.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

      Delete
  5. I loved, LOVED, The Boys in the Boat also. Even though I knew how it worked out, it was written in such a way that I had my doubts.

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    Replies
    1. Right? It was the same way for me. I actually wondered if the team was going to win, even though I KNEW they would/did. LOL. That's great storytelling right there!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Anne!

      Delete
  6. I've been so crazy busy this year, I think it might actually do me good to see where I am on the reading front so far this year! This tag is perfect - I'll try to get to it tomorrow.

    Homecoming is on my TBR and I quite like Megan Miranda. Sorry that one didn't work for you..... I haven't read it either, so I can't say much!

    Elza Reads

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tag was a good way for me to assess where I am with my reading for the year. It was both encouraging and...not, ha ha.

      THE ONLY SURVIVORS doesn't seem to be getting very good reviews overall, so it seems I'm not the only disappointed Miranda fan. Bummer.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Mareli!

      Delete
  7. I love that you completely switched up today's topic idea to one that suits you better. The weather by you sounds atrocious, and I hope it gets better soon. I haven't read any of these, but I've got Homecoming on my TBR, and so many of the books you listed sound really good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's overcast and only 99 degrees right now, so that's something! LOL.

      I hope we both love HOMECOMING when we get to it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leah!

      Delete
  8. The heat in AZ is just awful... and dangerous, I would think. Good time to stay inside and read! I adore Amy Harmon and plan to start A Girl Called Samson very soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely! And yet, you still see people out walking around during the middle of the day, even jogging sometimes. Crazy.

      I hope you enjoy A GIRL CALLED SAMSON. I thought it was excellent.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tanya!

      Delete
  9. Homecoming is long but really good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hesitating on it right because it's so long and I've got a few other chunksters I still need to get to before the year ends. I'm a huge Morton fan, so I'm sure I'll love it when I get to it. Glad you enjoyed!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Bree!

      Delete
  10. I don’t mind DNFing books (for many of the same reasons you do) but I try not to talk about it too much. I was going to skip today’s prompt but then succumbed. It’s not my favorite topic. Sometimes I worry that my followers will think I like every book I read. I want them to know the reality as well! I hope I don’t upset any authors. Stay cool! 🥵🥵🥵

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That makes total sense. My reviews are very honest, so hopefully my readers know that they can trust me to give my unfiltered opinions. For TTT, though, I try to keep things positive and fun.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting! I don't know who this is, so hopefully I have already visited your TTT :)

      Delete
  11. A girl called samsom is a wonderful story, Amy Harmon´s writes the most beautiful stories. Take care of the heat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's a great writer. Of the three books I've read by her, I loved two of them and liked the other well enough. Her writing is lovely, isn't it?

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Vero!

      Delete
  12. That's a lovely and positive twist on the prompt. I want to read Alice Feeney soon because I love the thriller genre but haven't checked out any of Feeney's books yet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DAISY DARKER is the only one I've read by her. Even though it's dark, depressing, and disturbing, I still really liked it. I found it to be clever and compelling. I definitely want to try more of her books.

      Thanks for popping in, AJ!

      Delete
  13. Great post! I really liked The Poisoners Ring too -- such a great premise. I think I should check out A Girl Called Samson -- I've only read one book by Amy Harmon, but loved it (Where the Lost Wander).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Rip Through Time series is just SO fun. The books always make me smile.

      WHERE THE LOST WANDER is my favorite of the books I've read by Harmon, followed closely by A GIRL CALLED SAMSON. I've also read THE UNKNOWN BELOVED, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the others. I hope you enjoy A GIRL CALLED SAMSON.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lisa!

      Delete
  14. Yes to #6!!! And, Boys in the Boat--wow. Did you watch the documentary on PBS? It's probably online somewhere. Very nicely done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you agree on IONA. It definitely exceeded my expectations.

      I have not watched the Boys in the Boat documentary. I'll look for it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lisa!

      Delete
  15. I really enjoy Alice Feeney's books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DAISY DARKER is the first one I've read by her, but it absolutely made me want to read more!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jen!

      Delete
  16. I've seen pretty mixed reviews for The Only Survivors, so not surprised. I actually saw it at Half Price Books today...in the clearance section. For $3. Ouch!

    And I'm always here for happy couples in fiction, so intrigued by the Armstrong series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, unfortunately it seems like a lot of Miranda fans have been disappointed in her newest. It happens. I'm not giving up on her since I've enjoyed all of her others.

      Casey and Eric are a great couple. They're very supportive of one another as well as loyal and mature. They have fun together, too. I like them a lot.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, RS!

      Delete
  17. I've been meaning to try some Kelley Armstrong for a while now. Glad to know her books are so binge-able!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really are! The Rockton series is a fairly gritty crime series. The Rip Through Time series is lighter (funnier and not as graphic), although it's still a crime series (with a time slip twist). I love them both.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Louise!

      Delete
  18. Oh wow, that heat would be miserable. I am so sorry! I love this topic and I haven't seen this tag going around, will need to put it in my back pocket for when I need a post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The heat is pretty intense here! Usually, we get some monsoon storms to kind of break things up and cool it down a little bit. We've hardly had any so far, although we did get a little thunder and lightning late last night.

      It's a fun tag. You should definitely do it when you get a chance.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

      Delete
  19. I am so excited for Enchanted Hill as well! And I've been curious about Enola Holmes so I might have to give those a try. (I've watched the first movie and thought it was fun.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was actually a little disappointed in ENCHANTED HILL. It's not a bad book, I was just expecting something more original and gripping, you know?

      I've only read the first Enola Holmes book, but it was super fun. The books have the same tone as the movies - funny, clever, and charming. I especially enjoyed it on audio and that's how I plan to "read" the rest of the series since I love the narrator so much.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jaime!

      Delete
  20. Great topics and book list. Boys in the Boat really is an amazing book and story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. I always love an underdog story and this one was interesting and well told. It's amazing how suspenseful a story can be, even when you already know the outcome!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

      Delete
  21. My favourite book so far this year has been The Adventures Of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty. I still need to read Homecoming by Kate Morton too, I'm hoping to get to it before the end of the year. I've not read the Enola Holmes books, but I did like the film on Netflix and I really need to watch the second one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't heard of the Chakraborty book. I'll have to look it up. I'm also hoping to get to HOMECOMING soon. I might put it off until the new year, though, since it's a chunkster and I still have several other doorstoppers I need to read in 2023. I've only read the first Enola Holmes book, but it was SO fun. It has the same kind of tone/narration as the movies do. If you like them, you'll like the books.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jo!

      Delete
  22. Great list & I like the idea of the Book Freak Out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a fun tag and it made for an easy TTT post :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Rebecca!

      Delete
  23. I've been seeing Homecoming on a lot of blogs recently, I do own another of the author's books. I should read that before I jump into a new release, right? :D

    Happy reading! My TTT https://readwithstefani.com/10-books-i-recently-marked-as-did-not-finish/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've loved all of Morton's books except for THE CLOCKMAKER'S DAUGHTER. My personal favorite is THE SECRET KEEPER. Whichever of hers you choose to read first, I hope you love it!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Stefani!

      Delete
  24. Hi Susan, there are some great books included here and I have to agree with you about Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting, it was such a pleasant surprise to read and I ended up loving it's quirkiness.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Same! I hadn't heard of IONA IVERSON before someone suggested it for book club and I wasn't very enthused about reading it, but it was great! I enjoyed it a lot.

      Thanks for popping in, Deb!

      Delete
  25. Why am I so in love with that Enola Homes cover? Hope the second half of 2023 is full of wonderful reads!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because it's so quirky and fun! I love it, too.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Alicia!

      Delete
  26. I've seen such meh reviews for The Only Survivors. I'm going to give it a pass. I can't wait to read Homecoming and Enchanted Hill. Both look so good and Kelley Armstrong is one that I can't believe I haven't read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I don't blame you. It was, sadly, a very mediocre read. Even our favorite authors don't hit it out of the ballpark every single time! ENCHANTED HILL is actually a good example. It's a fine read, but nothing special, like I was expecting. I'm really excited for HOMECOMING, so hopefully, it exceeds or at least meets my expectations. Armstrong is great, too. You'd probably enjoy her Rip in Time series.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

      Delete
  27. I have added the Iverson book to my TBR.. need something like that for sure.. and I was tempted to do this book tag but then i couldn't think of books for more than half the things at this time.. need to think some more so another time..
    here is my TTT: https://www.ladyinreadwrites.com/unusual-books-celebrating-authors-of-the-week/#Celebrating_Authors_of_the_Week_Books_and_Unusual_Somethings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IONA IVERSON'S RULES FOR COMMUTING really is a fun read. It's light and heartwarming but also insightful. I hope you enjoy it!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Vidya!

      Delete
  28. I really like the topic of your blog this week. Very cool way to review your year so far. Kate Morton's book looks amazing. That cover!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's a beautiful cover, isn't it? And pictures don't do it justice. You should see it in person. Wowzers!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

      Delete
  29. I decided not to list the books I didn't finish either---yep---too negative.

    The Boys in the Boat was a fantastic read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is a great read. I was a tad bored at points, not gonna lie, but overall, it kept my attention, touched my heart, and had me cheering hard for those determined boys in the boat!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deb!

      Delete
  30. Alice Feeney is one of my favorites so I'm glad to hear you're enjoying her books. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, good! I can't wait to read more of her books. She just seems like my kind of author :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Suzanne!

      Delete
  31. A great tag! I don't often DNF books so couldn't do a whole post 😂 since starting back up on reading I have DNF one book and that was a collection of short stories so just didn't read them all.

    Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to force myself to finish every book I started, but I've learned to be a lot more selective. Life's too short to spend time on books I'm not enjoying!

      Thanks for popping in!

      Delete
  32. I have my eye on a few of these authors and books. Haven't read any of them. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy them when/if you get to them!

      Thanks for stopping in, Hena!

      Delete

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