Book Tag – The Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

Thank you to Birdie Bookworm for tagging me on this one! You should check out her blog. I love reading every post and was thrilled to find out that she’s from SE Michigan like me! The covers are either linked to my review of the item OR the Amazon/Goodreads page for the item depending on what it is.


1) The Best Book You Read in 2017

Wish by Barbara O'Connor, Author of How to Steal a Dog - tagline: With a little luck you can get what you wish for. - Sunset background, young girl with long brown hair and short-sleeved green shirt kneeling in the grass with a beagle dog - fireflies flying in the background

Wish by Barbara O’Connor is the best book I’ve read so far this year. It’s poignant, realistic, and absolutely wonderful! It’s meant for the middle grades (ages 8-12), but honestly, I think this book is wonderful enough to recommend to all ages.

2) Your Favorite Sequel in 2017

Book Cover: Once Upon a Spine: A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle - background is the front window of a bookshop - in the foreground are a wrought iron table and chair with a teapot & cups/saucers on the table along with a cat. On the chair is a copy of "Alice in Wonderland"

Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle is definitely my favorite sequel so far this year. I really enjoyed this book. Now, I love the Bibliophile Mystery series anyway, but this is one of the best in the series! It actually has eclipsed Ripped from the Pages as my favorite book in the series! Make sure you check it out!

3) New Release You Really Want to Read but Haven’t Yet


I have been wanting to read The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden since before it came out. However, other blog tour books, other commitments and various other life happenings have gotten in the way. I’m thrilled that next week, Jay (from this-is-my-truth-now) and I are going to start this book as a buddy read. I cannot wait to actually get started on it!

4) Most anticipated release for the 2nd half of the year


Lynn Kurland is one of my all-time favorite authors.  The Nine Kingdoms series is my favorite series of hers so each release is highly anticipated for me! They’re only released once a year, so I have to content myself with re-reading the other books in the series in between new releases. Check out Star of the Morning, which is the first full book in the series. There are two other short stories in the series, but that’s the first full novel.

5) Biggest disappointment of the year

Masked to Death Book Cover - green background on top and aqua background on bottom; drawn "photo" of one man standing behind one man sitting with a Mardi Gras mask

Masked to Death was definitely the biggest disappointment. From reading the description of the book, I really thought it would be fun. Unfortunately, there were only about two scenes in the whole book that I actually enjoyed. 😦

6) Biggest surprise of the year

Book Cover: A Made Marian Novel - Borrowing Blue by Lucy Lennox. Green background with photo of a grapevine at bottom and two men standing together, one shirtless and the other with a shirt on but unbuttoned.

Borrowing Blue by Lucy Lennox was my biggest surprise, only because it was the first M/M romance I’ve ever read so I wasn’t sure how if I’d like it at all, much less just how much I would really end up loving it! It’s such a sweet story and I absolutely adore it and the rest of the Marian brothers!

7) Favorite new-to-you or debut author

Book Cover - Kale to the Queen: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery by Nell Hampton - a largish kitchen with windows over looking the grounds and an island full of produce, meats and a butcher's knife.

I absolutely loved this book. To my knowledge this is the author’s first published cozy mystery, but even if it’s not, she’s definitely new-to-me. 🙂 This was a fun little mystery set in London and dealing with the royal family.

8) New fictional crush


I don’t really have a new fictional crush this year, so I’m sharing my all-time top fictional crush, Archmage and eventually King of Neroche, Mochriadhemiach (affectionately known as Miach by most). I absolutely adore Miach. I wish I could find a man like Miach. He’s certainly not perfect, but he’s incredibly sweet, humble (even tho’ he’s one of the most powerful mages of the realm), and completely besotted with Morgan. The Mage’s Daughter is the book that really shows just how much he loves her and I cry almost every time I read it!

** I have not reviewed this one yet, but doing this tag made me realize that I need to review each of the Nine Kingdoms books or at the very least do mini reviews for them! **

9) New favorite character

Book Cover: Taming Teddy: A Made Marian novel by Lucy Lennox; Blue background with a snowy woods scene at the bottom, two men without shirts on the top.
Made Marian #2

Teddy, from Taming Teddy, is my newest favorite character. I just love him. He and Jamie’s story is so heart-warming and wonderful. I love seeing them interact in the other books in the Made Marian series as well. 🙂

10) Book that made you cry


My Secret Guide to Paris by Lisa Schroeder is a great middle-grade book. There were parts that made me cry tho’ because there were times when the main character was talking about how much she missed her grandmother. It made me think of my grandparents on my mother’s side, whom I was very close to, and both of whom are gone now. I shed a few tears thinking of them.

** I have not reviewed this one yet but it is on the list to review. I’m waiting until I read the latest in the series and then review all three at once. **

11) Book that made you happy

There really isn’t one specific book that really made me happy so far this year. There are several books I enjoyed, but not a specific one that stands out above the rest for making me happy.

12) Favorite book to movie adaptation you saw this year


I know it’s old, but I just recently watched it, so I’m counting it. Beaches is one of my favorite book to movie adaptations and one of the few where I actually enjoy the movie more than the book.  It reminds me a lot of me and my childhood best friend, Michelle. We’re always there for each other even if we’re not necessarily as close as we were as children/teens. 🙂

13) Favorite book post you’ve published this year

I think my Happy Valentine’s Day post, with my favorite book couples and my favorite fictional crushes is my favorite so far this year.


14) Most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is my favorite book of all time. I absolutely love this book and have read it more times than I can count. The photo of this cover doesn’t do it justice at all. It’s a forest green imitation leather with the words imprinted in the cover. It’s absolutely gorgeous. 🙂 This is one of just many “special” copies of the book I own. I have one separate copy that I actually read. The rest is just for display.

15) Some books you need to read by the end of the year

brightwood   The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees by Robert Penn book cover - beige background with items made from trees such as an axe, slingshot, wooden spoon, baseball bat, boat oar, etc.   Print   theothereinstein

These are all books I’ve had from NetGalley for at least six months to a year. I really need to finish them and get my reviews up! I’m working on reading The Edge of the Empire in between other books right now. It takes a little bit of reading and then putting it down and letting it sink in a bit. It’s good tho’!


Thanks for hanging in there and reading it all! Thanks to Birdie again for tagging me. I’m not tagging anyone and yet I’m tagging all of you. If you haven’t done this tag, I highly recommend it. 🙂 It’s a good reflection on the first part of the year and a nice look forward to the 2nd half.

Books that have surprised me

A fellow blogger that I follow (Birdie Bookworm) posts a Top Ten list most Tuesdays. Earlier in the year her topic was “To Love or To Hate”. The premise behind it was to name 5 books that you didn’t believe you were going to like and ending up loving. Then, you turn around and name 5 books you thought you’d love that were complete disappointments to you. I thought it sounded fun, so I thought I’d do something similar.

There aren’t any many books that I’ve read that I thought I would hate before reading it. There are some that I was pretty skeptical about though. Here are a few of those:

Books I was Skeptical About

Hickory, Dickory, Dock by Agatha Christie Book Cover - Background of the book is red with a silhouette of a pendulum and 2 rats sitting on top of the yellow title letters.Hickory, Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie – This was the first Agatha Christie book I had ever read. I’ve never had anyone in my life who really gushed over how much they loved Dame Christie’s books, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I had forgotten my book at home and this book was on one of the shelving carts at my library so I picked it up. I’m really glad I did! I’ve since read about 15 more books by Dame Christie in the Hercule Poirot series, and I’m participating in a challenge to slowly work my way all the way through her books.



Amulet Graphic Novel Series - Book One: The Stonekeeper Book cover - Background is amber fading to dark green fading to dark blue/black - Door with tentacles sticking out of it on bottom - Pink Bunny, dark haired boy and red-haired girl on top.The Stonekeeper (Amulet Series #1) by Kazu Kibuishi – I’m not generally a graphic novel reader so when I picked this graphic novel up at work one day, I was very skeptical about it. This was another case of forgetting my book at home, but I do work in a library, so that’s not always a bad thing! In this case, it was a good thing indeed. Someone had left this graphic novel in the break room, so I decided to read it instead of playing Mahjongg on my phone. I really enjoyed it. It was the first time I ever felt like I could still imagine parts of the story even though the book was a graphic novel. Usually I get bored with graphic novels because I like using my imagination while reading books and most of the graphic novels just have too much detail in their pictures for me.  I’ve since read several others in the series, but I still like the first one the best.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - A novel - book cover with read background and bright yellow text - small graphic of a key inside the center of the "O"

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I picked this book up because my library had a “treasure quest” program from Fall 2011 through Spring 2012. It was a way to keep people interested in looking for clues in the catalog in between summer games. It was a lot of fun and at the end of the game, they revealed that the basic tenets of the game were based on this book. I picked it up thinking it would be interesting, but I’m not huge science fiction fan, so I was a bit skeptical.  That skepticism proved to be totally unfounded! I absolutely loved this book and I personally loved the second book by the author, Armada, just as much if not more!  Now, I am a child of the 1980s so all the references to 80s pop culture thrilled me. But I loved the story line as well. I’ve read it several times and love it each time!


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling book cover - Harry is flying on a broom through an arch and pillars trying to catch the golden snitch with Hogwarts and the Forbidden Forest in the background

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Yes, I was skeptical about the Harry Potter series. I was in my 20s when the books came out and I was skeptical about reading them. It wasn’t until after I watched the first movie with the family I was babysitting for at the time, that I was interested in reading the books. Even then, while I thought I would like it based on the movie, I wasn’t prepared to be as blown away with them as I was! It’s now one of my favorite series to re-read when life is stressful.



Divergent by New York Times Bestselling Author, Veronica Roth book cover. - Dark sky and city skyline background - a fire burning inside a circle in the center

Divergent by Veronica Roth – I was really skeptical when I picked this one up because even though many of my colleagues were recommending it, I had been severely disappointed with The Hunger Games after the same colleagues’ recommendations so I took this one with a grain of salt with it. It turns out I loved it! It was just wonderful! I quickly bought the 2nd and 3rd as well and enjoyed them too.




Books I Thought I’d Love

Eragon by Christopher Paolini book cover - Dark blue background with a dark blue dragon in the center of the cover.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini – I was really excited when Eragon first came out. I love dragons and I thought it was just going to be so great. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it at all. In fact, I never even finished reading it. It wasn’t that the writing was bad really. The author just never made me care about the character. I didn’t care what happened to him. I wasn’t ever compelled to pick the book up and read to find out what happened. I was very disappointed.




HungerGamesThe Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – All of my colleagues at the library raved about this trilogy. They seemed to think it was one of the best books ever to be written for young adults/teens. I finally gave in and read the first one. It was definitely well-written and had a good story line, I just did not find it as amazing as my colleagues. I started the second book, but when they were going to send Katniss back to the Hunger Games, I stopped. I just didn’t want to read all that drama again. I know plenty of people who rave about these books, but I just did not like them.


The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser book cover - Scene from the Gardner Museum complete with empty frame from one of the stolen artworks.

The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser – I really wanted to like this book. I thought it was going to be great. I enjoy reading about art/jewelry heists and this is the largest unsolved heist in the world. Unfortunately, this book was just boring and dry. The pace was plodding and slow and it just never held my attention. I’ve tried three different times to read it with the same experience, so I have to conclude that this book is just not for me.



Book Cover: A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery: Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams - Inside a pie shop with numerous pies on pedestals and shelves behind a glass partitionPies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams – I was really excited when this book first came out. I had enjoyed other series by the same author, so I was excited about having a new series to read. Unfortunately, this book was extremely disappointing to me. I found the characters to be very one-dimensional and unbelievable. I never even finished the book. About halfway through I realized that I really didn’t care about the main character nor did I care who the killer was. Very disappointing compared to Ms. Adams’s other series.



Book Cover: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Yellow & Purple background with a green alien with no eyes, tongue sticking out, wearing a hat and camera and carrying a suitcase.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – Even though, I’m not a huge science fiction fan, I thought I’d try this book anyway. So many of my friends love it and often times we share similar interests in books. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. I was bored very early on and barely made it through the 50-100 pages that I give new books to “hook” me in. I’ve never finished it and really don’t plan to. Part of me feels as though I’m missing out on some portion of “geek culture” but not enough that I’m willing to read a boring book to find out about it!



These are the books that have surprised me one way or another. Do you have a book that really surprised you one way or the other that you’d like to share? Comment below!