Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2022

It’s the end of June! It’s halfway through the year! The longest day of the year was less than a week ago! Which all means it’s time for the mid year book freak out tag!

I’m really busy right now – I’m working on my dissertation and moving house and having a mysterious chronic health issue flare up – so I haven’t been able to post as much on here as I wish I could. Hopefully come autumn things will be calmer and I’ll be able to prioritise this blog more 🤞

Onto the questions!

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Blog Tour: Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White

Release Date: June 7th 2022

Genre: YA Horror

Read: June 1st 2022 – June 2nd 2022

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rep: gay trans boy main character, autistic gay love interest, Black trans girl side character, Latinx non-binary asexual side character who uses xe/xem, Black lesbian side character, sapphic Black hijabi Muslim side character, aromantic side character, various other queer side characters including characters who use they/them and neopronouns

CW: parental death, graphic death, body horror, violence, religious abuse, discussions of genocide; instances of homophobia, transphobia, misgendering, and deadnaming

Synopsis:

Prepare to die. His kingdom is near.

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.

But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.

Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms… until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.

A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors. Perfect for fans of
Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.

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Blog Tour: Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard

Release Date: May 10th 2022

Genre: YA Thriller

Read: May 3rd 2022 – May 4th 2022

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rep: lesbian main characters, questioning non-binary main character, f/nb relationship, fat main character

CW: bullying, condemned bodyshaming, familial emotional abuse, accidental & intentional death, attempted murder, violence & fighting, knife violence, gun violence, kidnapping, non-consensual drug use, underage alcohol consumption, vomiting, car accidents, parental divorce (in backstory), threat of sexual assault, homophobia

Description:

In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly.

The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in. The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots?

This pulse-pounding thriller offers a nuanced exploration of identity, freedom, and falling in love while your world falls apart.

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Reading Wrap Up: March – April 2022

Considering the amount of reading I’ve been having to do for my Masters course, I think I managed to read a lot over the last two months!

There’s a pretty clear split between March and April in terms of the quality of the books I was reading. March was overall a very good reading month for me! April was…. not. At all. I ended up turning to rereads out of desperation because the hat trick of low rantings was frankly depressing and I didn’t want to give it a single chance of continuing further.

As always, here are the books I read in the order that I read them in, along with some thoughts on them.

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Review of Skulduggery Pleasant: Until the End by Derek Landy

Release date: 14th April 2022

Read: April 16th 2022 – April 17th 2022

Rating: ⭐⭐

Rep: bi main characters, sapphic love interest, f/f relationship (very minor plot point), genderfluid side character, Black side characters

CW: violence, gun violence, on page death, imprisonment, possession

Description:

The second cycle of the internationally bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series comes to a thrilling end. You are not ready…

The Faceless Ones have returned to our universe. The bad guys have won. 

With the end of everything just days away – and no longer able to rely on Valkyrie Cain – Skulduggery must make allies of enemies if he’s going to stand any chance of saving what’s left of the world. And just when things are looking their bleakest, they manage to get even worse, with Omen Darkly suddenly having to step up when his brother, the Chosen One, falls.

There’s a lot going on. Most of it is bad. Sorry about that.

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Review of Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Release date: 5th May 2022

Read: 11th April 2022 – 13th April 2022

Rating: ⭐⭐

Rep: bi love interest, lesbian side character

CW: death of parent (in backstory), memory manipulation, on page death, physical injury

Description:

The legendary Hotel Magnifique is like no other: a magical world of golden ceilings, enchanting soirées and fountains flowing with champagne. It changes location every night, stopping in each place only once a decade. When the Magnifique comes to her hometown, seventeen-year-old Jani hatches a plan to secure jobs there for herself and her younger sister, longing to escape their dreary life.

Luck is on their side, and with a stroke of luminous ink on paper the sisters are swept into a life of adventure and opulence. But Jani soon begins to notice sinister spots in the hotel’s decadent façade. Who is the shadowy maître who runs the hotel? And can the girls discover the true price paid by those who reside there – before it’s too late?

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Review of House of Tongues by James Dashner

Release date: 20th October 2021

Read: 31st March 2022 – 4th April 2022

Rating: ⭐⭐

Rep: Latina side character/love interest, Black side character, Chinese-American side character

Content warnings: serial killer, murder, choking, death of spouse (in backstory), referenced past domestic abuse, imagined eye injury, decapitation/severed heads, gore, fox hunting, death of a pet (in past, discussed in detail & presented humourously), police involvement (portrayed positively), missing persons & children, kidnapping, corpses, suffocation, mention of dementia, stabbing, threat of sexual assault, racism, gun violence, death of parent, harry potter reference in final pages

Description:

David Player has spent 30 years trying to forget the traumas of his childhood. The threats, the kidnappings, the murders. The imagined curses of a people born centuries earlier, passed from father to son, mother to daughter, generation to generation. Its climax came in human form, a monster of a man, one of the most notorious serial killers the nation has ever seen: Pee Wee Gaskins. And Gaskins had a particular hatred for the Player family, then for David, himself, who barely escaped those years with his own life intact.

Now David is back, his four children in tow, visiting his parents’ home, a place he has learned to cherish despite the evils that haunted his younger days. But no sooner does he return than a stranger visits their doorstep, the son of Pee Wee Gaskins. In a terrifying display, right in front of the kids, the man utters threats until he chokes on his own tongue, sparking a series of events that drag David and his family back into the days of curses and murders, onto a path of unimaginable terror, all too familiar.

That path leads to an old gothic tower in the woods, a place David had blocked from his memory, a house of horrors both past and present. The House of Tongues.

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Review of My Dearest Darkest by Kayla Cottingham

Release date: 29th March 2022

Read: 18th March 2022 – 27th March 2022

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rep: bi main character, questioning lesbian main character with anxiety depression & PTSD, f/f relationship, sapphic side characters, Black side character with ADHD, Arab hijabi side character, Japanese side character

CW (provided by author): abusive relationships, alcohol consumption by minors, anxiety, blood & gore depiction, body horror, burns, coming out themes, cults, dead bodies/body parts, death of a parent, death of a friend, depression, drowning, emesis, emotional abuse, grief & loss depiction, hallucinations, loss of autonomy, mind control, murder, outing (mentioned), panic attacks (mentioned), physical injuries & wounds, ptsd, biphobia (mentioned), racism (mentioned), recreational drug use (marijuana)

Description:

Wilder Girls meets The Craft in this Sapphic horror debut that asks: What price would you be willing to pay to achieve your deepest desires?

Finch Chamberlin is the newest transfer student to the ultra-competitive Ulalume Academy… but she’s also not what she seems. Months before school started, Finch and her parents got into an accident that should have left her dead at the bottom of a river. But something monstrous, and ancient, and terrifying, wouldn’t let her drown. Finch doesn’t know why she woke up after her heart stopped, but since dying she’s felt a constant pull from the school and the surrounding town of Rainwater, like something on the island is calling to her.

Selena St. Clair sees right through Finch, and she knows something is seriously wrong with her. But despite Selena’s suspicion, she feels drawn to Finch and has a sinking feeling that from now on the two will be inexplicably linked to one another.

One night Finch, Selena, and her friends accidentally summon a carnivorous creature of immense power in the depths of the school. It promises to grant every desire the girls have kept locked away in their insecure hearts―beauty, power, adoration―in exchange for a price: human body parts. But as the cost of their wanting becomes more deadly, Finch and Selena must learn to work together to stop the horror they unleashed, before it consumes the entire island.

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Review (ish) of City of Dusk by Tara Sim

Release Date: March 22nd 2022

Read: March 9th 2022 – March 18th 2022

DNF @ 40%

Rep: Indian coded main character, bi main characters, lesbian main character, trans woman side character

Synopsis:

The Four Realms—Life, Death, Light, and Darkness—all converge on the city of dusk. For each realm there is a god, and for each god there is an heir.

But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city. And without it, all the realms are dying.

Unwilling to stand by and watch the destruction, the four heirs—Risha, a necromancer struggling to keep the peace; Angelica, an elementalist with her eyes set on the throne; Taesia, a shadow-wielding rogue with rebellion in her heart; and Nik, a soldier who struggles to see the light— will sacrifice everything to save the city.

But their defiance will cost them dearly.

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Reading Wrap Up: January – February 2022

Yes, this wrap up is late. But also time is an illusion and I’m doing a Masters, so.

I actually read a decent amount in January and February! Most of it happened in January, which can be very easily explained by the fact that semester two began at the same time as February did. I’ve still been reading loads since classes began again, I’ve been keeping up with my reading for class better than I literally ever have before, but the random essays and book chapters aren’t trackable like whole books are. Sometimes I imagine the power I’d have if all my time spent reading could be spent reading books I’m reading for fun. That must be how some people are able to get through hundreds of books a year.

I gave a wide variety of ratings over these two months, which was certainly an interesting experience for me. In chronological order, here they all are.

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