Coffee Time Tuesdays: Mid-Year Freakout Tag

This week’s Coffee Time Tuesday will be a little different. The reasons for that are threefold: 

  • one, I don’t have new current reads or finished books
  • two, I love the mid-year freakout tag and wanted to share mine with you, and also to reflect on my reading so far this year
  • three, to keep content fresh and invite you to reflect on your own reading in the first half of 2022

I’m in the process of moving house and it’s intense. All I’ve been wanting to do this month is nap or fantasise about the first week of July, when, in my new flat, freshly unpacked, I can chill on the sofa with my knitting and some new books. I’ve been so tired, unmotivated and overwhelmed lately that books just haven’t been on my mind.

But fear not. With a new start comes new motivation, so I’m sure next month’s Coffee Time Tuesdays will be packed full of exciting reads.

For now, let’s go through the mid-year freakout tag, a fun challenge that always takes over Booktube around this time of year.

Mid-Year Freakout Tag

So far, 2022 has been very successful for me in terms of books. I’ve read 26 of my intended 55 books this year, so I’m on track. Of those, only one was a 2-star read, with the majority of the books I’ve completed being 4-star reads. I’m excited about this tag, I think I’ll have lots to share.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2022?

The winner for me right now is Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams. This acclaimed contemporary fiction is a wonderful exploration of womanhood, in all its complex forms, written from the perspective of a Black woman, which adds more profound nuances to the themes of the book.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2022?

I’m a standalone kind of reader, so the only sequel I’ve read this year is Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and adam Silvera. This is the sequel to What If It’s Us?, a sweet YA queer romance which ended in uncertainty and was begging for a sequel. I liked Here’s to Us, it was cute and brought me the closure I needed.

I am ecstatic to read two particular sequels later in the year though, but I’ll cover those later on.

3. New releases you haven’t read yet, but want to?

I would love to read Akwaeke Emezi’s latest book, You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty. I recommended this as the new release in a previous Coffee Time Tuesday column. The story has very similar themes to the second novel I’m working on: the death of a partner and navigating love and identity while still dealing with grief.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

This has to be 100% the third book in T.J. Klune’s The Extraordinaries trilogy, Heat Wave. I am so ridiculously pumped for what is essentially a superhero book and that in itself is impressive enough.

The Extraordinaries is a queer, fantasy story with a neurodivergent main character who discovers he has superpowers like the few exceptions he knows of in the world. These ‘extraordinaries’ do their best to make the world a better place, but there are rivalries and political implications that stand in their way. 

This series made me realise I have ADHD. Aside from the fact that it’s sweet, incredibly funny, wholesome, romantic and features some of the most iconic quotes ever, the fact that Nicky, the main character, has ADHD, made me discover I have it too. I’ve been on a path towards getting it formally diagnosed ever since.

Heat Wave comes out on 19 July and I can’t contain myself.

Another one I can’t wait to read is Alexis Hall’s Husband Material, the sequel to Boyfriend Material. This comes out on 2 August.

5. Biggest disappointment

To be honest, most of the books I’ve read this year have been amazing, and although this isn’t my lowest-rated one, Truly Devious, by Maureen Johnson has to take the stage here.

I had such ridiculously high expectations for this dark academia mystery and it fell so, so flat for me. If you want to know more about why I was so disappointed with this book, my review explains it all.

6. Biggest surprise

The book that absolutely shocked me with joy and wholesomeness and one I didn’t expect would slip into my top favourite books of all time is The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun.

Oh my God, this book. I read it three times in the space of a month. The mental health representation and the way it’s explored in this book is exquisite. I was expecting a sweet, cheerful, fairytale queer romance and got a lot more than that.

I did proclaim my love for The Charm Offensive loud and clear in this review if you want to know more. But really, romance, validation, faith in humanity restored, all those elements should be indication enough to read it.

7. Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

Caleb Azumah Nelson, for sure. His debut, Open Water is the second-best book I’ve read this year and I will read anything this man comes up with from now on.

8. Newest fictional crush

Harper Harper from Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth. Beautiful, successful, humble, mysterious, a caring elder sister and a great actress, what else could you ask for?

9. Book that made you cry

I was a hot mess at the end of The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. If you’ve read this, I’m talking about the sacrifice at the end. So terribly tragic. I have a full review of this Greek myth retelling, and I recommend you check it out.

10. Book that made you happy

How to Be a Normal Person by T. J. Klune was so sweet, so wholesome, and made me believe that there’s a person for everyone out there, no matter how broken, how weird or how alone you feel.

11. The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Plain Bad Heroines for sure. Have you seen that cover?

12. Favourite book-to-movie adaptation you’ve seen this year?

Heartstopper. Technically a book-to-show adaptation but this has to be my top pick. Oh my God. The cast. The sweetness. The representation. The family-friendly atmosphere. The soundtrack. The happy queer experiences. Four hours of pure joy.

And that’s it for today’s column! The sun is shining in the North of England (miracle), and I’m about to head out and possibly get some bubble tea and pizza. What are you reading with your (hot) drink of choice this week? And let me know some of your answers to the freakout tag questions!

Published by Eliza Lita

Founder and editor-in-chief: Coffee Time Reviews. Freelance writer and Higher Ed comms person.

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