Fun for Monday: Mid-Year Check-in Tag

This tag was loads of fun to do last year, but I nearly forgot all about it this year, what with one thing and another. Thankfully, I’ve seen it doing the rounds, so while I’m a bit late, I’m here now. Hi!

I’m kind of in a weird place at the moment. I’ve been taking it easy on the bloggy front and trying to sort out some work things and some personal things that have me feeling … a little blue. I’m hoping talking about books will get me out of my funk and maybe get me excited for some of the stuff on my stack.

So let’s squeee together in both enjoyment and anticipation …


Best book you’ve read so far in 2021

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(I’m not great a picking just one thing to answer prompts, it seems).

Aliette de Bodard is one author that I’m really digging though. Both The Citadel of Weeping Pearls and The House of Shattered Wings were awesome and I can’t wait to read more about these two worlds.


Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021


If I had any misgivings about The Diviners by Libba Bray they were firmly laid to rest by the awesomeness of the sequel Lair of Dreams. I am chomping at the bit to read the next book in this series, which a friend of mine is reading first because I had other things to be getting on with … gah!


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And I’ve just finished reading volume 7 of Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura, because when I’m in a bad place manga and graphic novels always save the day. I had forgotten how much I was enjoying Kuranosuke, Tsukimi and the Amars gang’s hilarious adventures in the world of fashion.


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

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Fine, yes, I know it’s been out for about a year now, but I finally bought a copy of The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper by A J Fitzwater and I both want and need to read this adorable looking book asap.


Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

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I am very excited for A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Beck Chambers (coming out this month) and The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera (coming out in August). I know I probably won’t read them right away, but it pleases me to know that such awesomeness will be in the world very soon.


Biggest disappointment

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I had high hopes for A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab (having enjoyed Vicious a while back), but it fell a little flat for me. Thankfully I was reading it in great company, and Lynn and I both agreed on our verdict.


Biggest surprise

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I shouldn’t really have been surprised since I loved The Martian (book, not film), but Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir was awesome. I listened to this as part of a free Audible trial, thanks to a friend’s recommendation and enjoyed it so much that I immediately went out (to a shop!) and bought the hardback to read it again.

(Additional gushing needed: Ray Porter’s narration was definitely a huge part of my enjoyment. He nailed the various characters, balanced emotion and humour beautifully, and his voice for Rocky was so absolutely perfect that this is how Rocky will be in my mind for all time).


Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

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From what I’d read, I already suspected Aliya Whiteley would be my kind of author. But getting the chance to read an ARC of Skyward Inn back in February confirmed this for me and I’m very keen to read more of her awesomely batsh*t imaginings.


Newest fictional crush

… ??!


Newest favourite character


This was between that queen of the f-bomb, Kiva Lagos, from John Scalzi’s Interdependency trilogy and Rugee the household god from Spirits that Walk in Shadow by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. Most often manifesting as a large salamander, Rugee pips Kiva to the post mostly because he’s cuter. And, quite honestly, animals always beat people.


Book that made you cry

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Whole lotta crying going on over here. Project Hail Mary made me cry. The last two work book group reads – The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – made me cry (and I didn’t even like The Midnight Library). To put this into some sort of perspective, I’ve also cried at an advert I saw the other day, a picture on Instagram, and an article about WW2. I’m just feeling a bit soggy, right now.

But Kindred by Octavia E Butler was a killer read, back before I was feeling soggy. Maryam and I have still to post our discussion about this buddy-read, but *blows air out of cheeks* … yeah … powerful stuff. It’s a book that’s going to stick with me forever.


Book that made you happy


I haven’t read it yet, but I was very happy when my copy of Lady Mechanika: The Clockwork Assassin finally arrived the other day. I only ordered it three months ago. The volumes that follow this one had all arrived, but of course not this one, because that’s not how the world works, is it?

Anyhow, it’s all mine now. Mwa-ha-ha!!


Favourite book to film adaptation

*falls on floor laughing second year in a row*


Most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen that I received the vintage sff book mother-load last month. For those that don’t: I made friends with a patron at work who’s a big sff fan. He was reading sff before I was born. And he has amassed an incredible collection of books, which he now has to whittle down because he’s moving into a smaller property. But he didn’t want his books to be pulped or sent to a charity shop. So now I have the books that he no longer wants to keep. And there are some crackers – not just things I want to read, but also some great cover art that I’m happily drooling over as I catalogue them (there’s nearly 700 books in total).

Here’s a little taster:

24 stunning and/or goofy vintage sff book covers that I previously shared on Instagram


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

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A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar, which I’ll be buddy-reading with Maryam later this month. Squee.

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer, which I’m hoping to buddy read with imyril if she’s still keen. *hopeful wave*


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Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb because I promised Ola I’d get back on the Hobb train.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke because I assured Calmgrove that’s I’d get on this pronto.


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And just for myself, I’d like to read You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce and Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia because after hearing awesome things about both of these I was able to request copies from the library.


Challenges & Bingo Progress Report

I’m tagging this onto the end here because even though I haven’t been trying very hard, I feel I’m doing pretty well with the Contrition of a Bad SF Fan Backlist Bingo created by imyril, and Calmgrove’s 21 TBR for 2021 challenge.

Here’s what my bingo card looks like at the moment:

7 out of 16 categories completed


And I’ve read 12 out of the 21 books from my TBR that I need to complete Calmgrove’s challenge. Which is not too shabby, even if I do say so myself.


21 TBR books in 2021



So, that’s me. Anyone else not yet done this tag and want to join in the fun? Or just want to squee with me in the comments below?




  1. Sorry to hear you’re feeling a bit blue, hopefully things get better sooner rather than later.

    A friend of mine stuck Too Like The Lightning on my TBR about a month ago – I had a look at the sample and went “well, this is batshit crazy, which I’m usually interested it, so okay… but maybe when properly receptive”.

    Also… I honestly need to do something about my gutter mind, as I misread The Last Cuentista and was a bit surprised for a moment…

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🤣🤣🤣 Well you made me laugh, so things are obviously not so bad over here! ( on a serious note, thank you for the kind words).
      Yeah, Too Like the Lightning sounds like just the kind of crazy I love … I’m pretty excited to read it. Maybe, if imyril is cool with it, the three of us could do a buddy-read?? … just throwing it out there. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, you got it! 😆
      At the moment they are mostly boxed up. I’ve catalogued them all so I know which box holds what, and I’ve made a small(ish) stack of what I’d like to read first.
      I have … plans … for them later on. But for now they’re safe and warm. 😆


  2. Thanks again for linking to my meme! 🙂 By the way, I’ve just scheduled a review of Kindred for tomorrow, so I’ll be really interested in your response to it (though I can kind of guess it from your introductory remarks).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really hope your blues will end up soon, Mayri!
    Happy to see you’re planning on reading Hobb! 😊 My Walton is waiting on my shelf until I finish with Uthred son of Uthred, so quite soon! 😀
    And man, what an awesome collection!!! 🤩

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Ola! I’m sure it’ll pass soon.
      Yep, Hobb is sitting right here by my elbow waiting to be picked up in the next week or so! I’m quite excited… 😁

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I loved A Psalm for the Wild Built, and also You Let Me In is still one of my favorite books. Congrats on your stash of vintage SFF books, how exciting😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was your review for You Let Me In that put it on my radar! 😊 That you loved Wild-Built too just confirms I need to get on it! 😆


  5. Aww, I hope things in your work and personal life will get better.

    Glad to see that you’re hopping back on the Hobb train!! 🙂

    It’s worth it. And I really enjoyed Lair of Dreams too. I’m currently reading the third book, Before the Devil Breaks You, which is even spookier but I’m really digging it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Zeezee. ❤
      I’m excited to continue Fitz’s story (I see more crying in my future! Ha ha!) And I’m impatient to get back to the Diviners’ story too. Good to know it gets spookier… I am definitely in the mood for spook. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I’m sure it’ll pass. ❤

      Heck yeah, can’t wait to read Devil – my friend’s just finishing up with it now and says it’s better again! 😁🥳

      Liked by 1 person

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