Midyear Book Freak-out Tag // My Reading Year Has Been Drier Than the Sahara Desert…

It’s Mid-Year Book Freak-out tag season!!

I’m kinda late to the Midyear Book Freak-out wave, but shhhh. July 1 is the actual middle of the year, so I’m technically on time. I’m sure you already know what this tag is about, so let’s just get into it!! Thank you so much to the wonderful Caro @ Book Cheshire Cat for tagging me!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

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Vengeful by V.E. Schwab is the only book I’ve rated 5 stars so far this year, even though it’s more like a solid 4. Still the best book I’ve read this year though, which should tell you how dry it has been so far… Though I still prefer Vicious, this sequel had most of what made me love it. Alternating timelines that eventually converge in an epic manner, morally grey characters, straight-up villains, and a great take on classic superhero tropes! Note that V.E. Schwab once used her platform to send fans after a blogger who raised valid questions about a relationship between a minor and adult in her books, and she has yet to give a proper apology.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?

Gonna have to leave this one blank! I’m bad at reading sequels and the few I’ve read so far this year (besides Vengeful) weren’t that good. 😭

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?


The Fever King is one of the few books I rated 5 stars last year, and I can’t believe I haven’t read The Electric Heir yet!! Even though I know it’s gonna be a hard-hitting read (please check out the content warnings, friends), I need to know how Noam and Dara’s story concludes!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

The answer to this question used to be These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, but guess who emailed the publisher and got a digital ARC!! 😭 I would also say The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, but because of what I mentioned above, I’d rather not give her too much clout.

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The Burning God by R.F Kuang is the final book in The Poppy War trilogy, which I’ve been faithfully following since last year. I’m so freakin’ excited to see how it ends!! An early reviewer called it R.F. Kuang’s best work to date, and… if it really is, I won’t be ready (but I will be because I desperately need to rate more books 5 stars).

I feel like this trilogy has been getting so much hype lately, as it deserves!! It’s an Asian-inspired fantasy (the Chinese aspects of the worldbuilding make my Chinese heart so happy) that’s heavily influenced by real-world events, specifically the Sino-Japanese war. It stars a morally grey female protagonist, gods who can be communed with by getting high, and a whole lot of pain. Highly recommend!! πŸ˜ƒ

Biggest disappointment?


Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim could’ve been phenomenal, but instead it was the textbook definition of meh. The characters could’ve been layered, yet they were forgettable; the plot could’ve gone in an interesting direction, yet the author chose to follow *spoiler*a counterfeit money scandal??*end of spoiler* The romance could’ve been angsty, but instead I got “we bathed in a pool together once, let’s kiss.” There is nothing wrong with this book per se, but it could’ve been so much more epic than it actually was. πŸ˜₯

Biggest surprise?

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The Henna Wars is my second favorite book of the year so far, and I’m so surprised because YA contemporary debuts usually disappoint me. 1) Contemporary isn’t my preferred genre, and 2) debuts are, based on my experience, more likely to have flaws.

While this book’s plot isn’t mind-blowing, and I totally get why other people wouldn’t like it, the queer person of color representation resonated with me so much! It reminded me why ownvoices books are so important, because I don’t think a white queer author would ever be able to write QPOC rep as well as an actual queer person of color. (Also, I loved reading about Nishat’s friendship with her sister Priti!)

Favorite new author (either debut or new to you)?

June Hur

I really enjoyed The Silence of Bones, June Hur’s 2020 debut novel! From the synopses of her future books, I gather that mysteries set in historical Korea are gonna be her brand. πŸ‘ Historical fiction and mystery are not my preferred genres, but I’m willing to read all of her future works because her writing is so polished already. Plus, we rarely get Western-published books set in Korea, let alone historical Korea!

Newest Fictional Crush?

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I don’t really get fictional crushes? But a character who I wouldn’t mind being in a relationship with is Adam from Love From A to Z! He’s so unproblematic and the definition of a soft boy. πŸ₯Ί

Newest Favorite Character?


I’m a very character-driven reader, so the fact that I still haven’t found a new all-time favorite character in 2020 is yet another example of how this reading year has been dry AF. But for this question, I’ll go with Spensa from Skyward! Her recklessness and brashness made her an interesting character to follow, and I’m excited to see how her character develops in the sequels!

Book that made you cry?

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I’ve been very vocal about the fact that no book has ever made me cry. But I think that A Heart in a Body in a World did? I didn’t cry because of anything that happened in it, but because the way the main character is involuntarily reminded of bad memories is similar to how I am. Whenever she got flashbacks, I got flashbacks too, so I ended up crying over some events that happened to me in the past year while reading this book at 3AM. Fun.

Book that made you happy?

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Heartstopper is the ultimate serotonin-inducing book, and no one can convince me otherwise! The relationship between Charlie and Nick is so cute and soft, and I’m positive that anyone can breeze through a volume in less than an hour. 😌

Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation?

The Untamed (2019) - MyDramaList

The Untamed is a Chinese drama, and it’s adapted from a Chinese web novel that everyone seems to love, yet I was disappointed by πŸ™ƒ. Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo portrayed the main characters perfectly. Their relationship is explicitly queer in the novel, but due to Chinese censorship laws, it couldn’t be portrayed as such on-screen. Yet they did such a good job of telegraphing the protagonists’ more-than-platonic feelings for each other in a subtle way!!

The plot is also extremely faithful to the novel, with only some minor deviations from it. Most of the characters’ lines are even direct quotes from the book! I just… love the story so much, and the relationship between the protagonists is so beautiful, whether you choose to interpret it as romantic or platonic. If I haven’t convinced you to give it a try yet, watch it for the handsome men, hehe.

Side note: I’m surprised that I actually have an answer to this question, since I don’t care for book-to-screen adaptations lmao.

Favorite Post You Wrote This Year?

This is a hard question to answer because I both love and dislike all my posts! (And sometimes I’m too embarrassed to read them after they’re published, oops.) So I’ll just go with the one that has done the most well stats-wise so far this year!

I’m really glad that my return to writing blogging discussions was well-received. πŸ₯Ί And I had so much fun discussing the topic of blog hopping with ya’ll in the comments!!

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

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Listen, I’m absolute trash. I have been putting all three of these books on my TBRs since last year, and I still haven’t read them!! I’ve already talked about why I want/need to read these books in countless posts, so I’ll just link to them instead of being a broken record:

My reading year has been disappointing so far. It hasn’t been horrible, since I am enjoying most of the books I read. I just haven’t loved a book or found a new fave yet. :((

Also my brain is too fried to come up with bloggers to tag. Everybody does this tag in the middle of the year anyway, and nobody cares if you’re actually tagged. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Feel free to say I tagged you if you want!

Have you read any of these books? What’s your favorite book of 2020 so far? What’s your biggest disappointment of 2020 so far? Please recommend a book that you think I’d rate 5 stars!! πŸ₯Ί

80 thoughts on “Midyear Book Freak-out Tag // My Reading Year Has Been Drier Than the Sahara Desert…

  1. I desperately need to read the poppy war books, I kept telling myself I was going to read them for like a year and I haven’t yet, I don’t know why haha
    I read The Henna Wars and Heartstopper too and they were SO GOOD, “ultimate serotonin-inducing book” is the BEST way to describe Heartstopper. I haven’t read a lot in 2020 yet so I haven’t been heavily disappointed by a book yet which is great πŸ˜‚

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    1. read the poppy war!! like, you will be hurt, but it’ll be worth it >:)
      i’m so happy you liked the henna wars and heartstopper!! and that’s so great to hear ❀ i hope you continue to not have many disappointments ❀


  2. I have The Poppy War, and I am SO excited!!! I think you recommended it to me? Idk, people have been telling me to read it left and right and I finally am going to!! ALSO YOU GOT THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS 😭 I hope you enjoy it, and I can not wait for your review!! I’ll be a broken record as well if I re-hype WTFoH and Anne, so…I’ll just…let it slide πŸ˜‚ You’re so right about Scavenge the Stars. I gave it 4 stars because Idk, it was the first book I read after a month, and I was feeling generous I guess, but it was truly just meh. Like really meh. Honestly, I don’t think I really care about the next book, but I might probably just read it anyway. I’m also really excited for The Silence of Bones and I’m glad you loved it!!
    And V.E. Schwab. Like why? I just heard about Addie LaRue recently, and I have it on my tbr, and now I’m just like…do I even really want to? Why do favorite/really liked authors always end up doing something problematic? It’s just so frustrating. Sigh πŸ˜‘

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    1. Yes, please read it Rukky!!! It’s painful, but sooo good. And i know i can’t believe it 😭😭but i haven’t written a review in months lmaoooo idk how i’m gonna do it. i really need to read WtFoH & Anne it’s not funny anymore :(( I hope you can read The Silence of Bones soon—I feel like it’s pretty underrated! And I’m glad someone agrees with me about Scavenge the Stars! it’s just so meh & forgettable when it had so much potential not to be. & i’m not at all interested in the sequel lmao
      yeah, problematic authors are so disappointing πŸ˜” (they’re usually white though, but you didn’t hear that from me…) i don’t think what she did is *super extreme* though! so i’ll continue reading her books & talking about them on my blog (maybe just not too much), while hoping that she’ll learn from her actions


  3. I just picked up Vicious (to reread) and Vengeful and I’m super excited to pick them up – I didn’t hear about the VE Schwab news so thank you for informing me! I had such a hard time with this tag because I also felt like the year was relatively meh in terms of reading but I’m super hopeful for the second half of the year! I’m super excited for These Violent Delights as well, I was thinking about emailing the publisher but I’m so scared so I’ll just wait for my preorder to arrive πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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  4. I LOVED reading your answers, sweetie! ❀️✨ I’m going to finally read Vicious this month, and I’m super excited!! & I know you love With The Fire On High, it’s a great book. πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ»
    Spensa is everything, I love her. I hope your last half of the year is incredible my love πŸ₯°

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  5. I’m so sorry your reading year has been meh, Caitlin! I hope the second half of 2020 is better for you and you can discover some new favorites.πŸ’› I haven’t read too many of the books you mentioned, but I definitely agree that Adam from Love From A to Z is so unproblematic and sweet, not to mention he’s such a good big brother in the book, too. *cries*

    I’m so glad The Henna Wars resonated with you!! I’m looking forward to reading it, as well as hopefully getting around to Heartstopper. I always say I need to read more Alice Oseman, so I think I should actually act on that and read more, haha. Here’s to hoping you find books to love in the rest of the year! xx

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    1. thank you so much Olivia!! yes, he’s such a good big brother, and *clutches hands to chest* he’s what we’re thinking about when we say not all men πŸ˜”πŸ˜”

      i hope you enjoy the henna wars and hearstopper—i really think you have a high chance of enjoying them! & i haven’t read a lot of alice oseman too, just hearstopper and radio silence! tbh i’m not really interested in her other works, but i’m highly aniticpating loveless ❀

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  6. i still have no idea how the untamed managed to be so gay without actually being gay, but it did and i’m so thankful! i just superimposed the gay from the novel onto it in my head and conveniently pretended i didn’t see the things i had problems with (like how they pretty much erased wwx’s moral greyness, although i assume that was also for censorship reasons, maybe) fdshfshfls

    i still haven’t read the poppy war but even i am excited for the burning god to come out lol, from early reviews (which i can’t read properly because spoilers) it seems like the author grew a lot throughout the trilogy and it makes me so eager to start it once i have time to properly focus on it!

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    1. it was!!! & yeah they definitely toned down wwx’s moral greyness. but i consumed the live action and novel so close together that they’ve blended together in my head i don’t know akfjkdjfdkf

      yes, r.f. kuang is such a legend! she was already amazing at 19, she’s unstoppable at 24 😀 and i hope you can read the poppy war soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. There’s so many books on here I really want to read! I’m super hyped for The Electric Heir, although tbh I’ve been putting it off because I’m not super excited about disease rn lol, and The Henna War seems super adorable! At one point I had Skyward checked out from the library… and then it was due and I returned it without reading it… whoops

    Also I feel like everyone in the universe has read and loved the poppy war and I have no excuse for being behind on this one. Except I’m behind on everything so nobody is surprised but… I swear I’ll get to it haha maybe this way is better so I won’t have to wait in suspense to see what happens but just binge it when everything is out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s definitely not the best book to pick up in these times. πŸ˜… But good thing by mental health hasn’t been super affected by the pandemic, so I can probably read it with no worries. Aww, that’s so sad :(( I hope you can get a copy again, and that you enjoy The Henna wars!

      Ohh, that’s a good idea! But you should definitely read it soon πŸ₯Ί


  8. AAAHHHH! I see VE Shwab EVERYWHERE – ALL THE TIMEEE – and it just…makes me feel so deprived! 😭😭😭😭 WHY haven’t I read anything by this author yet?! 😭

    A Heart in a Body in a World looks sooo BEAUTIFULL!! I MEAN LOOK AT THAT COVER 😍😍

    I absolutely LOVED ALLL of your answers, Caitlin! 😍😍 I MISSED YOUR BLOG SOO SOO MUCH! Another thing to be glad about now that I am back! β€οΈπŸŒ»πŸ¦‹

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    1. You really should!! Her works have flaws in my opinion, but she’s famous for a reason! And yes the cover of A Heart in a Body in the World is so nice 😍 It has a great story too! and awww, thank you so, so much, Rain ❀ I'm so glad that you're back!!


  9. i’m honestly so happy to see that the henna wars is your second favorite of the year!! i was truly convinced you were going to be disappointed by it and i’m really just all πŸ₯°πŸ₯° at the fact that you weren’t — the power of ownvoices qpoc rep!! and OH i know i’ve suggested so many brs for us but if you wanna buddy read the starless sea… πŸ‘€ but yes to being excited over the burning god!!! i feel like everyone is going to combust when we read it (i know i will literally just. be dead). and yes please read the electric heir as soon as you can!! it’s such a great conclusion, and the cute domestic life scene makes me πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί

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    1. i’m still surprised that i wasn’t skjfdkjfd. the power of ownvoices qpoc rep indeed!! i’m so up to buddy read it πŸ₯Ί if all goes to plan, I’ll be picking it up soon! i just saw that you got an email from R.F. Kuang—congrats 😭😭 maybe i’ll be able to get an ARC, but I’m fine with waiting!! we’ll all combust when we finally read it anyway 😌

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      1. ah i don’t know if i can read the starless sea this month so don’t worry about it buddy reading if you planned it for july! but any other month… 😎 and ah have you tried requesting on netgalley/edelweiss? all i did was request and then send an email to her to let her know!

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  10. Ooh, The Electric Heir is so good!! I hope you enjoy it when you read it! Also, suuure the tag is called the “mid-year” book freakout tag, but when is it really the middle of the year? Especially in a year like 2020 that seems neverending. The Henna Wars sounds so good, I can’t wait to read it! And I’m sorry that you haven’t found that many books you love this year so far πŸ˜“ I hope that the second half of your reading year will be better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really need to get to it soon!! lmao i actually googled the middle of the year for this tag, and it said july 1 πŸ˜‚ 2020 has been… a year. the days are passing by quickly, but i think it’s just because i don’t want summer to end! thank you so much, Chana! I really hope you enjoy The Henna Wars πŸ₯Ί


  11. I just got a copy of The Poppy War and I’m so excited to read it!! And the Henna Wars is an amazing book 😍 I loved reading your answers to this tag Caitlin πŸ’•

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  12. Great post ! Like you I too am very late for my mid year freak book tag….just published it today ! Being new to the community was not aware that this was kind of a institution in the bookish community….I really need to read Henna Wars….but I don’t own a physical copy which is sad 😦 And after reading your post there are so many books I want to read

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  13. I loved vengeful too!!I I’m curious about the henna wars! And I love Spensa!! Heartstopper definitely made me happy too πŸ˜€ I hope to read starless sea by the end of the year as well. With the fire on high was excellent and anne of green gables is lovely!

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  14. We still haven’t published our Midyear Book Freakout, you’re not late. πŸ™ˆ I’m so SAD you’ve only rated one book five stars so far. I originally wrote off Vengeful as something I’m not interested in, BUT now you’ve made me reconsider that. I really liked The Henna Wars – I think I hyped it up before getting to it a bit too much, which is why it didn’t live up to my expectations, but even so, it was a solid four star novel for me. πŸ˜€ I hope the next half of the year will be better for you reading-wise. πŸ’›πŸ’›

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    1. i can’t wait to see your answers!! πŸ₯Ί lol me too, i hope the second half of the year is an improvement.
      and i don’t think it’s as good as vicious, but it’s still worth reading imo! ah, i’m so sad the henna wars didn’t really live up to your expectations – it’s definitely not a masterpiece. but solid 4 stars is good, at least for me πŸ˜… thank you so much!!

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  15. I’m so sorry you haven’t found any new favourites yet this year Caitlin!! I hope the rest of the year is better for you!! ❀ The Starless Sea you mentioned you need to read this year was one of my favs so I hope you will vie with it! ❀ ❀ ❀

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  16. My favorite books I read so far are Chain of Gold and Crooked Kingdom 😍
    I really want to read V. E. Schwab but I don’t know what book I pick first πŸ€”
    I’m really intrigued with The Poppy War πŸ˜€

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    1. I love Crooked Kingdom, and I really need to catch up on TSC, so I can read Chain of Gold!
      And any V.E. Schwab book is accessible imo. I think you should just start with the one that interests you the most!
      I hope you pick up TPW!


  17. I really really hope you’ll find books you love love LOVE and adore with all of your heart during this second half of the year, Caitlin ❀
    I loved reading your answers for this! i'm happy you enjoyed the henna wars, I'm so very excited to read that one, it sounds like such a great book and… I'm in love with that cover ahah.And I also need to read With the Fire on High before the year ends, I finally got a copy and can't wait! πŸ™‚

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    1. ahhh, you’re the best, Marie!! i hope so too 😭😭 i have a copy of WTFOH too & it’s gorgeous! i really hope we love it! i’ve seen pictures of the henna wars & it looks so beautiful—I think you have a high chance of enjoying it, & I really hope you do πŸ₯Ί

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  18. I am yet to read The Poppy War, but it is high on my list! (I actually went to put it on hold the other day but I’ve reached my limit at the library so I have to wait until I’ve returned some books, lol…). I hope you enjoy The Burning God!!
    I really want to read The Silence of Bones and The Henna Wars too! I feel like I’m going to love them.
    Adam from Love From A to Z is so sweet – I think you made a great choice there! (I also don’t seem to get fictional crushes.. at least anymore. I guess I got too old 😦 )
    Oh gosh, I’m sorry about your experience with A Heart in a Body in a World.
    I hope you get to Wth the Fire on High some time soon! It’s one of my favourites, particularly because of the main character πŸ˜€

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    1. Thank you!! I hope you can get it a copy and read it soon πŸ₯Ί
      I hope your intuition about The Silence of Bones and The Henna Wars is right! &, idk, the fact that I know they’re fictional prevents me from forming a crush on them πŸ˜‚ bc… they’re not real :””(
      It’s fine! Crying was actually really cathartic, and I’m glad that a book finally made me cry! (Yes, I really need to read WTFOH already 😭😭)

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  19. Oh what yay, I haven’t seen great reviews for Vengeful but since you loved it I have high hopes for both of them. I KNOW I’ll love this series, VE Schwab’s adult writing is STUNNING. And yay for The Henna Wars too! Basically if you love a book, I have to read it hehe

    I am SO PSYCHED for the Feverwake series and The Poppy War series eeekkkk.

    Anne of Green Gables is A TON of fun. And me too, WTFOH and TSS are on my 2020 tbr

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    1. I have high hopes that you’ll love both!! πŸ₯Ί & Vengeful is still really good! Not as good as Vicious but still good ❀

      Yes, read them Ruby!! & if all goes to plan i will finally be picking up Anne, WTFOH, and TSS this month πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί

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      1. i actually read a hundred pages more than a month ago, and all i have to say is that anne is such a lively protagonist, haha! (also it’s so funny that she hates her appearance when she’d be conventionally attractive today πŸ˜‚)

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      2. I KNOW!! She’s an… odd character. I personally like her but can see if people find her annoying. But I’m quirkyβ„’ and #relatable

        …… I’ll leave now and disappear off the internet

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  20. So happy to see you doing the Tag, I loved reading your answers ❀ Happy to see that Vengeful is your favorite book this year so far – I had so much fun buddy reading it! – but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll find another favorite soon πŸ™
    I hope you end up liking The Electric Heir, it’s a great sequel and though it’s hard-hitting I loved it so much πŸ₯°

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  21. Ahh I loved Spensa from Skyward! And I agree about Heartstopper – instant serotonin every time I pick it up ❀ 😍
    Sorry to hear that your reading year so far has been not great πŸ˜” Hope you’re able to find some more amazing books coming up!

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  22. If you think you’re late to this tag, wait until I post mine xD (which I want to do but,,, will I? haha) Ok, so I SERIOUSLY need to read both Heartstopper (because everyone says is so soft and adorable) and The Poppy War (which I have technically listened to already, but my relationships with audiobooks are awful, so I have to actually read it πŸ˜› )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. can’t wait to read yours!! tbh nobody cares when you do the tag lmao. ahh, i feel you. there are some books that i really need to reread because i listened to them on audio, & i suck at listening to audiobooks. & yesss, heartstopper is super soft and adorable hope you enjoy it ❀

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  23. I’m glad you enjoyed Vengeful! I adore V.E. Schwab books but I am still yet to read that series. I also still need to read The Poppy War! Have seen too many good reviews to avoid it any longer now

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  24. I enjoyed With the Fire on High so much!! I’m not a big fan of contemporary but this one surprised me! (Wait, have I told you this before? I feel like I have but I can’t remember πŸ˜…)

    I want to read The Starless Sea so much! It sounds like something I would enjoy. But I still need to get myself a copy of it πŸ˜‚

    Anyway, sorry I’m late to the club πŸ™ˆ

    Liked by 1 person

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