Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag // 2021

General Mid-Year Stats:

This time last year I had read 74 books…so while I thought I was a little behind, it’s really an insignificant difference. Interestingly, my YTD average rating is the same this year as compared to 2020. The thing that maybe made me the most happy when I was looking over these stats is my fiction to nonficiton ratio! I’m ususally a lot heavier on the ficiton, so I’ve tried to increase my nonfiction reading to narrow the gap. There’s still room for improvement, but I’ll take it! Overall, it’s been a great reading year for me so far!

I’d love to hear what your favorite book of the first half of 2021 is! Drop a comment below!

  • Total Books Read: 69
  • Year-to-Date Average Rating: 3.9
  • Women Authors: 51/69 (74%)
  • POC Authors: 30/69 (43%)
  • Diverse Books: 30/69 (43%)
  • Total Pages: 23,499
  • Year-to-Date Average Pages/Book: 341/book
  • Format:
    • Physical Book: 39 (57%)
    • E-book: 27 (39%)
    • Audiobook: 3 (4%)
  • Where Did Book Come From?
    • Own: 23 (33%)
    • ARC: 40 (58%)
    • Library: 6 (9%)
  • Genre
    • Contemporary/Literary Fiction: 22 (32%)
    • Historical Fiction: 13 (19%)
    • Memoir: 8 (12%)
    • Nonfiction: 16 (23%)
    • Mystery/Thriller: 8 (12%)
    • Young Adult: 2 (2%)
  • New Releases: 45 (65%)
  • Backlist: (35%)

Best Book I’ve Read So Far:

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel gutted me in the best way possible. For such a little book, it packs a mighty big punch. I was literally sobbing at the end and I felt as if the family in the book was my own – that’s how hard it hit me. It’s important to read stories like this because it’s quite simple for us “documented” Americans to take this life and country for granted. When we have no fear of being deported or torn away from our families, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the intricacies of immigration policy in this country.

Check out My Halfway Top Ten // 2021 post for other great books I’ve read so far this year!

Most Overhyped Book I’ve Read So Far:

I knew before I even picked up Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro that it was outside my wheelhouse, but many reviewers I trust have named it one of their top books. I decided to give into the hype and I was sadly disappointed. This is the third book I’ve attempted by Ishiguro and I just don’t think his style is for me.

Best Sequel I’ve Read So Far:

I don’t know that these books are technically a “series” but they kind of feel that way, so I’m choosing to include The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton. Cleeton is one of my favorite historical fiction writers and what I love so much about her is that she writes outside of the WWII trope. All of her novels are about Cuba and their fight for independence. Her writing is transportive and I love all of her books!

New Release I Haven’t Read Yet But Want To:

I actually have two copies of Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner on my shelf and have already picked it up to start reading once, but I think it was too close to Mother’s Day to dig into a book about losing your mom. If there’s one book theme I absolutely love it’s definitely books about grief, but I do have to be careful with the timing when I pick one up. I hope to get to this one soon!

Most Anticipated Release For the Second Half of the Year:

I absolutely loved Anthony Doerr’s debut novel, All the Light We Cannot See, so I’m excited to read his next book coming out in September. In Cloud Cuckoo Land, Doerr “has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us and those who will be here after we’re gone.” Sounds so good…I can’t wait!

Biggest Disappointments:

  • I love Kristin Hannah so it goes without saying that her book, The Four Winds, was one of my most anticipated books of 2021. While I did enjoy it, it felt very slow and too dense with the details. After awhile I was like, “Ok, ok! I get it…it’s the Dust Bowl!” I’m sure she was trying to drive home the point about how terrible and bleak it was during that time in history, but I felt buried beneath the details. Also, the ending took a crazy weird turn that didn’t work for me at all!
  • Maybe I put unfair expectations on Of Women and Salt because of its gorgeous cover, but I was ultimately let down by this one. I loved the premise of this story but felt like there was too much going on for the length of the book. Parts of it were better than others, but I’ll still give Garcia’s next book a shot because I really do think she shows promise as an author!
  • We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker wasn’t even on my radar until I saw it all over #bookstagram (find me here)! I absolutely was sucked into the book and felt compelled to read it, but when once I had finished, I felt underwhelmed. Suffice it to say that I liked this book, I liked the writing, and I liked the potential, but it didn’t have enough “oomph” to be memorable for me.

Biggest Surprise

Beck Dorey-Stein wrote one of the best politcal memoirs I’ve read a couple years ago (From the Corner of the Oval), but despite loving that, I wasn’t sure she could crossover to fiction. I was nervous heading in but I didn’t need to be! I loved this book with complicated friendships set on the Jersey Shore. It is the best summer read!

Favorite New Author (Debut or New To Me):

This was the first time I read either of these authors and I really enjoyed both experiences. After posting reviews of these books, many mentioned both of their backlists so I added several more titles to my TBR.

Newest Favorite Character:

Mauro and Elena decide to travel to America from Colombia in seach of a better life, but when Mauro is deported Elena is left to figure out how to care for her three children. She makes the heartwrenching decision to send the baby back to Colombia to be raised by her mother and Mauro because it’s impossible to find childcare for a baby while she works to make money to keep her family afloat. When the baby, now fifteen years old, decides she wants to go back to her mother and siblings in America, Mauro is left behind. He doesn’t begrudge his daughter’s desires to go, but where does it leave him? The silent sacrifices of both Elena and Mauro made this novel unforgettable, but something about Mauro really captured my heart. He has become one of my all-time favorite characters.

Book That Made You Cry:

At this point, I’m beginning to sound like a broken record – I cannot talk abou this book enough. But seriously, it’s been a long time since I cried because of a book like I did as I finished this one. It tugged so hard at my heartstrings and due to Engel’s incredible writing, this book felt so personal – like it was my own family she was writing about – that the tears fell hard. I felt the pain as if it were real for me.

Book That Made You Happy:

Whenever I think about this book, it just makes me smile. From the cast of characters that accept, support, and love each other unconditionally to McQuiston’s sweet dialogue and story-telling, this book is the ultimate feel-good read!

Most Beautiful Book I’ve Recieved This Year:

The cover of this book is stunning (and like everything else, pictures don’t do it justice)! If you find yourself in a bookstore, take a second to find it and check it out firsthand…you won’t be disappointed. I also enjoyed this dark and mysterious story…so it’s a total win/win!


  • Unread Shelf
    • I’ve gotten my unread shelf down by 8 books! 
    • My mid-year total of unread books is now 224
  • Nonfiction Reading Challenge
    • 7/12 categories complete
  • Goodreads Challenge
    • 69/125 (55%)

7 thoughts on “Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag // 2021

  1. Great post!! We have such similar reading tastes and pace, but you’re doing a much better job with nonfiction. I HAVE TO read Infinite Country!!

    Favorite of the first half was Seven Days in June ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I love the way you broke everything down and laid out what you liked and didn’t like about the first half of 2021. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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